Matt Phillips was not involved in West Brom’s 3-0 defeat to Leicester on Sunday due to a “minor back injury”, Slaven Bilic has confirmed.
When the team news was announced prior to kick-off at The Hawthorns, the 29-year-old’s name was nowhere to be seen as Bilic named a 3-4-3 formation that featured Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson in the attack.
Phillips started 30 Championship fixtures for the Baggies last season and looked as though he had a fight on his hands to cement his starting spot in the Premier League when Bilic left him out of the season opener against Leicester.
But, speaking after the match, Bilic told the media that the Scotland international is struggling with a minor injury issue.
Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield shared what Bilic said via his personal Twitter account on Sunday after the defeat to Leicester.
Slaven Bilic fully expecting Branislav Ivanovic to be announced in the coming 24 hours.
"As far as I know, it was done yesterday I think, so I expect him to be tomorrow."
— Luke Hatfield (@LHatfield_Star) September 13, 2020
It remains to be seen how long Phillips will be left on the sidelines for but it’s unlikely to be too long if his back injury is seen as minor.
West Brom play against Harrogate in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night and that would be the perfect game for Phillips to start and show Bilic why he should be starting Premier League matches.
But the former QPR attacker might not have that chance due to this injury so someone like Kamil Grosicki or Kyle Edwards will get the opportunity instead.
West Brom cannot do any worse against Everton next weekend than they did against Leicester.
Bilic’s formation worked for the first half but Albion’s defensive frailties and lack of cohesion in attack was so apparent in the second half.
Phillips’ form was poor for most of the second half of last season but he has more Premier League experience than a lot of his team-mates and that experience could be vital if he’s ready to play against Everton at Goodison Park.
In other West Brom news, Richard Keys has tipped Bilic to leave The Hawthorns before Christmas.