Key West Brom star a doubt for Leeds United trip with no replacement in key position for Baggies

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A key West Brom player is a doubt for Friday night’s clash against Leeds United at Elland Road, ahead of which the Baggies have no natural “replacement” in his position.

Striker Brandon Thomas-Asante was rested for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup tie at Stoke City in which he was named among the substitutes but boss Carlos Corberan called for Thomas-Asante from the bench as a 57th-minute substitute with his side 1-0 down.

The second-half substitute equalised just seven minutes later but the Baggies went on to suffer a 2-1 defeat in which Thomas-Asante also rolled his ankle. The former Salford City striker completed the duration of the contest but was then missing for Saturday’s 3-2 win at home to Swansea City and Corberan admits his participation at Leeds is now in the balance.

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Fellow main no 9 option Daryl Dike is still on the comeback trail from an Achilles injury whilst Corberan insists new signing Josh Maja is not yet ready to lead the line. The Baggies boss subsequently started midfielder/winger Matt Phillips upfront for Saturday’s win against the Swans, after which he provided an update on Thomas-Asante and discussed his decision to play him in midweek.

INJURY DOUBT: For West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, above. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images.INJURY DOUBT: For West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, above. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images.
INJURY DOUBT: For West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, above. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images.

“It's complicated," said Corberan as quoted by the Express and Star.

"I respect my club and my fans a lot. That is why I made a decision, but at the same time I have to be smart in managing the minutes of the player. The fact that Asante didn't have a replacement, because Maja right now I cannot consider a replacement, in a couple of weeks but not right now, maybe I should've managed the game against Stoke in a different way and don't give the option for Asante to play a single minute.

"As a coach I have the responsibility to win football games. I have a lot of respect for every fan who travelled to see the best possibility of the team, trying to win the game. This is the option we must always have.

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"I was taking a risk because Asante didn't have a replacement right now, but football is about winning games and you have to make decisions even knowing the injuries we have."

Explaining Thomas-Asante’s injury, Corberan said: “He turned his ankle. The fact that he was warm he kept playing with pain, but the problem isn't when you're playing – the problem is the pain you have after the game. The next day he received treatment and he had too much pain and there was inflammation.

"We sent him for a scan, and the scan showed there was a negative situation, showing that the player was injured. Now we need to see how the player reacts. For me it's always hard to not have a striker in the team, but my way is not to be frustrated by the things, to find the solution.

"To compete without him affected the way we wanted to approach the game. Hopefully we recover him soon because he's an important player, especially at this moment without an alternative to the number nine or with the other striker (Maja) still not ready to help the team more than 20 minutes."