Thursday 18 January 2018

West Brom face anxious wait on Jonny Evans' fitness

Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans sat out their final Euro 2016 qualifiers with injury.
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans sat out their final Euro 2016 qualifiers with injury.

Jonny Evans is facing a race against time to return for West Brom against Sunderland and boost their depleted defence.

The defender will be assessed, along with James Morrison, after missing Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 qualification with a hamstring injury.

Evans, who joined from Manchester United in the summer, made 35 appearances during two loan spells at the Stadium of Light but faces missing a reunion when the Black Cats visit The Hawthorns on Saturday for Sam Allardyce's first game in charge.

Jonas Olsson (groin) is also struggling while James Chester has failed to impress since his £8million summer move from Hull, with the Baggies' defence having shipped eight goals in their last three games.

"We're hoping everyone returns back okay. Evans and Morrison (ankle) are still being assessed at this stage. We will see how they are but both are doubts," said boss Tony Pulis.

"Many of the players won't be back in till later this week. Salomon (Rondon), Sess (Stephane Sessegnon) and Cristian (Gamboa) for instance don't come back until late Thursday or early Friday. It's ridiculous really but there's nothing we can do about it."

West Brom are 17th in the Barclays Premier League after successive defeats to Everton and Crystal Palace and Pulis hopes the home nations' qualification, with Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley helping Northern Ireland reach France next year and Chester aiding Wales, will boost their season.

"It's pleasing to see them both qualify when you think of the nations who usually qualify - it's good to see other nations get their success. To have so many home nations at the Euros next summer will be good for everyone," he told the club's official site.

"I hope we will see a reaction from those players - if we do, brilliant."

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