By Beck Pascal

18th Jan, 2022 | 9:30am

West Brom boss Valerien Ismael anticipates imminent Kyle Bartley return

Valerien Ismael is hopeful for a return of Kyle Bartley in centre back as West Brom prepare for their clash with Peterborough.

The Baggies lost 1-0 to QPR on Saturday (January 15) being forced to play the game with makeshift central defenders in Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend.

Bartley’s January return will come as a huge boost for Ismael who is currently stretched in defence.

“We will get two players back for Peterborough that will give us options in the centre-back position,” Ismael said as per Express & Star.

“Normally the injury (Bartley’s ankle) is seven to 10 days, so we hope he comes back next week to have another possibility.”

He added “Cedric Kipre and Kyle Bartley will be back but we need every player, a strong team and a strong bench,”

“This season – with injuries, with Covid, with suspensions we never have the possibility to play week-in, week-out with all of our key players out there.

“This is what we have had to manage for months now.”

Every player needed

As Ismael stated, the Albion need all of their key senior players fit from now until the end of the season.

The team have a mountain to climb in terms of their hunt for automatic promotion which may be put to one side as the Baggies look to simply stay within the top six.

West Brom sit fifth in the table well within the striking distance of Middlesbrough, Stoke and Coventry with the latter two being able to leapfrog Ismael’ side if they win their game in hand.

Bartley will make a huge difference on his return to the team. He is an experienced player and having him back in the side will certainly help sure up the defence.

His return will be welcomed with Semi Ajayi currently away at the African Cup of Nations whilst Dara O’Shea makes his long-awaited return to training following surgery on a broken ankle.  

In other Baggies news, West Brom loanee Josh Griffiths will remain at Lincoln City.