Crofts edges closer to Albion return

Andrew Crofts. It's a big season for the Albion midfielder.

Andrew Crofts. It's a big season for the Albion midfielder.

First published in Sport by , Chief sports reporter

Andrew Crofts is creeping closer to his Albion comeback.

And when he eventually makes the 50th appearance of his second spell with the Seagulls, it will be as part of a dramatically changed team.

Crofts took part in full training sessions with the squad in Spain but was not involved in either of the friendlies against Partick Thistle or Real Betis.

Albion have three more warm-up matches now that they are back in England, at Crawley tomorrow night, at Peterborough on Saturday and against Southampton at the Amex on July 31, nine days before the opening Championship fixture at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

It is still unclear exactly when Crofts will be available to manager Sami Hyypia after the ruptured cruciate knee ligament damage suffered by the Welsh international against Birmingham in January.

Six other starters under former boss Oscar Garcia that afternoon at the Amex are no longer at the club.

Crofts will not have Keith Andrews or David Lopez for company in midfield when he returns.

The defence for the 1-0 victory over Birmingham included Tomasz Kuszczak and Stephen Ward, the attack was spearheaded by Leo Ulloa.

With the possible exception of Ward, the squad Crofts rejoins under Hyypia will have a very different look to it when Albion go to Birmingham for the towering Finn's first away game in charge a week after Sheffield Wednesday's visit.

The midfield competition for Crofts currently includes Rohan Ince - who was one of the other three starters in the Birmingham match - Nzuzi Toko, Jake Forster-Caskey, Solly March, Kemy Agustien and Dale Stephens.

Crofts' 49 appearances so far since rejoining Albion from Norwich City two years ago reflect the uncommon injury troubles endured by the fitness fanatic.

The 30-year-old was plagued by a hamstring problem in his first season back, then the season-ending damage sustained against Birmingham left him one short of his half-century.

Crofts made 50 appearances in less than a year for Albion in his first stint in League One under Gus Poyet before helping Norwich to promotion and playing for them in the Premier League.

Poyet made him captain back then and he was an influential figure. He had recaptured that kind of form under Oscar with five league goals prior to the end of November before disaster struck against Birmingham.

The final year of his contract will be a big one for Crofts under Hyypia.

His mobile, high-energy style suits the type of game Hyypia wants to play but will both Crofts and Stephens fit into the former Liverpool legend's midfield plans?

The latter, effectively signed in January from Charlton as Crofts' replacement, is further away from a comeback, having missed the Spanish trip to continue his recovery from the ruptured ankle ligament he suffered against Yeovil at the Amex at the end of April.

Both are likely to face further competition, with Hyypia expected to add another midfielder to his squad.

Meanwhile, the versatile Bradley Barry was back in action for Albion in Spain, both for the under 21's and as a second half substitute for the first team against Partick Thistle.

Gareth Barry's 18-year-old nephew had been sidelined for 11 months by a leg injury.

Comments (22)

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5:08pm Tue 22 Jul 14

gordongull says...

Hope this isn't the same as the edging closer to Albion return that we were told CMS and Will Hoskins were doing back in January.
Hope this isn't the same as the edging closer to Albion return that we were told CMS and Will Hoskins were doing back in January. gordongull
  • Score: 8

5:34pm Tue 22 Jul 14

albionbloke says...

Good to hear this......we really missed you in the back end of last season Crofty. Hope you come back as strong as ever, we need your skill this year.
Good to hear this......we really missed you in the back end of last season Crofty. Hope you come back as strong as ever, we need your skill this year. albionbloke
  • Score: 17

5:39pm Tue 22 Jul 14

AlanDuffy says...

It's unfortunate that we've had two guys who play similar roles injured at the same time - there's been many calling for us to sign another, but what happens when Crofts and Stephens return - competition for places is a good thing, but can we afford 3 players for the same role? Glad I don't have to make these decisions!
It's unfortunate that we've had two guys who play similar roles injured at the same time - there's been many calling for us to sign another, but what happens when Crofts and Stephens return - competition for places is a good thing, but can we afford 3 players for the same role? Glad I don't have to make these decisions! AlanDuffy
  • Score: 11

5:41pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Claude Back says...

Indeed, we missed his goals.
Indeed, we missed his goals. Claude Back
  • Score: 7

5:59pm Tue 22 Jul 14

JeffLomer says...

I asked this morning how Croft and Stephens are getting on with there injuries, good to hear Croft is on the road to recovery!!
I asked this morning how Croft and Stephens are getting on with there injuries, good to hear Croft is on the road to recovery!! JeffLomer
  • Score: 3

6:08pm Tue 22 Jul 14

gordongull says...

AlanDuffy wrote:
It's unfortunate that we've had two guys who play similar roles injured at the same time - there's been many calling for us to sign another, but what happens when Crofts and Stephens return - competition for places is a good thing, but can we afford 3 players for the same role? Glad I don't have to make these decisions!
What we don't need is a repeat of the strategy last January.
Barnes sold, CMS and Hoskins almost ready (lol), Obika and Rodriguez brought in as emergency cover.
[quote][p][bold]AlanDuffy[/bold] wrote: It's unfortunate that we've had two guys who play similar roles injured at the same time - there's been many calling for us to sign another, but what happens when Crofts and Stephens return - competition for places is a good thing, but can we afford 3 players for the same role? Glad I don't have to make these decisions![/p][/quote]What we don't need is a repeat of the strategy last January. Barnes sold, CMS and Hoskins almost ready (lol), Obika and Rodriguez brought in as emergency cover. gordongull
  • Score: 8

6:38pm Tue 22 Jul 14

tug509 says...

Good news ,we need Crofty back asap ,great competitor on the pitch ,I`m certain Sami will like his style . UTA
Good news ,we need Crofty back asap ,great competitor on the pitch ,I`m certain Sami will like his style . UTA tug509
  • Score: 5

7:25pm Tue 22 Jul 14

mark by the sea says...

Claude Back wrote:
Indeed, we missed his goals.
I think so too , croft is the only midfielder who is capable of goals in the midfield players listed, I wonder how exactly crofts Stephens , ince and toko will ever fit in a line up together lol
For me crofts is the more complete player of the 4 ... But will he be fully fit ?
I can't work out a side if we go 4-4-2 .. Going to be a interesting two and half weeks.
[quote][p][bold]Claude Back[/bold] wrote: Indeed, we missed his goals.[/p][/quote]I think so too , croft is the only midfielder who is capable of goals in the midfield players listed, I wonder how exactly crofts Stephens , ince and toko will ever fit in a line up together lol For me crofts is the more complete player of the 4 ... But will he be fully fit ? I can't work out a side if we go 4-4-2 .. Going to be a interesting two and half weeks. mark by the sea
  • Score: -1

7:41pm Tue 22 Jul 14

mikeygit says...

Bradley Barry--now that would be good if we could get him playing to the standard of Gareth Barry---remember him guys?? I do not think he ever played for our first team ---sold him to Villa and never ever received the full agreed price as Villa **** footed around until we had to accept a lower price and spent it on legal fees in the Goldstone saga. I believe I have the correct facts??
Bradley Barry--now that would be good if we could get him playing to the standard of Gareth Barry---remember him guys?? I do not think he ever played for our first team ---sold him to Villa and never ever received the full agreed price as Villa **** footed around until we had to accept a lower price and spent it on legal fees in the Goldstone saga. I believe I have the correct facts?? mikeygit
  • Score: -1

8:24pm Tue 22 Jul 14

tug509 says...

mikeygit wrote:
Bradley Barry--now that would be good if we could get him playing to the standard of Gareth Barry---remember him guys?? I do not think he ever played for our first team ---sold him to Villa and never ever received the full agreed price as Villa **** footed around until we had to accept a lower price and spent it on legal fees in the Goldstone saga. I believe I have the correct facts??
Yes you are and who was their manager at the time ,tomorrow nights cannon fodder creepies manager john I`m as good as my word Gregory .
[quote][p][bold]mikeygit[/bold] wrote: Bradley Barry--now that would be good if we could get him playing to the standard of Gareth Barry---remember him guys?? I do not think he ever played for our first team ---sold him to Villa and never ever received the full agreed price as Villa **** footed around until we had to accept a lower price and spent it on legal fees in the Goldstone saga. I believe I have the correct facts??[/p][/quote]Yes you are and who was their manager at the time ,tomorrow nights cannon fodder creepies manager john I`m as good as my word Gregory . tug509
  • Score: 1

10:30pm Tue 22 Jul 14

2ndCitySeagull says...

Hyypia is expected to add another midfielder to his squad? Love to see Elliot Bennett come back a la Crofts. With Solly possibly moving into a more attacking midfield/central role, personally I'd love to see Elliot running full pelt down the wing for me!
Hyypia is expected to add another midfielder to his squad? Love to see Elliot Bennett come back a la Crofts. With Solly possibly moving into a more attacking midfield/central role, personally I'd love to see Elliot running full pelt down the wing for me! 2ndCitySeagull
  • Score: 5

10:32pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Joel'sGrandad says...

Shame that John Gregory now seems to leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
He was IMHO a very good midfielder, probably one of the best to wear the stripes. But hey ho. UTA
Shame that John Gregory now seems to leave a nasty taste in the mouth. He was IMHO a very good midfielder, probably one of the best to wear the stripes. But hey ho. UTA Joel'sGrandad
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Mayfield sweeper says...

mikeygit wrote:
Bradley Barry--now that would be good if we could get him playing to the standard of Gareth Barry---remember him guys?? I do not think he ever played for our first team ---sold him to Villa and never ever received the full agreed price as Villa **** footed around until we had to accept a lower price and spent it on legal fees in the Goldstone saga. I believe I have the correct facts??
Those were the days, if only we could have some of that goldstone drama at the Amex.
[quote][p][bold]mikeygit[/bold] wrote: Bradley Barry--now that would be good if we could get him playing to the standard of Gareth Barry---remember him guys?? I do not think he ever played for our first team ---sold him to Villa and never ever received the full agreed price as Villa **** footed around until we had to accept a lower price and spent it on legal fees in the Goldstone saga. I believe I have the correct facts??[/p][/quote]Those were the days, if only we could have some of that goldstone drama at the Amex. Mayfield sweeper
  • Score: -1

10:55pm Tue 22 Jul 14

VegasSeagull says...

People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.
People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free. VegasSeagull
  • Score: 2

11:16pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Clean Sheet says...

Joel'sGrandad wrote:
Shame that John Gregory now seems to leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
He was IMHO a very good midfielder, probably one of the best to wear the stripes. But hey ho. UTA
Agreed, I think Gregory made more appearances for us as a right full back? He was a cultured player, moving into midfield as he matured.
[quote][p][bold]Joel'sGrandad[/bold] wrote: Shame that John Gregory now seems to leave a nasty taste in the mouth. He was IMHO a very good midfielder, probably one of the best to wear the stripes. But hey ho. UTA[/p][/quote]Agreed, I think Gregory made more appearances for us as a right full back? He was a cultured player, moving into midfield as he matured. Clean Sheet
  • Score: 1

11:17pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Guernsey gull says...

VegasSeagull wrote:
People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.
Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here.
Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all !
[quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.[/p][/quote]Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here. Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all ! Guernsey gull
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Guernsey gull says...

VegasSeagull wrote:
People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.
Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here.
Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all !
[quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.[/p][/quote]Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here. Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all ! Guernsey gull
  • Score: -4

12:19am Wed 23 Jul 14

Ex-pat Arnie says...

Clean Sheet wrote:
Joel'sGrandad wrote:
Shame that John Gregory now seems to leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
He was IMHO a very good midfielder, probably one of the best to wear the stripes. But hey ho. UTA
Agreed, I think Gregory made more appearances for us as a right full back? He was a cultured player, moving into midfield as he matured.
Famously played in every position - except goal I think.
[quote][p][bold]Clean Sheet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joel'sGrandad[/bold] wrote: Shame that John Gregory now seems to leave a nasty taste in the mouth. He was IMHO a very good midfielder, probably one of the best to wear the stripes. But hey ho. UTA[/p][/quote]Agreed, I think Gregory made more appearances for us as a right full back? He was a cultured player, moving into midfield as he matured.[/p][/quote]Famously played in every position - except goal I think. Ex-pat Arnie
  • Score: 1

6:48am Wed 23 Jul 14

brighton bluenose says...

Guernsey gull wrote:
VegasSeagull wrote:
People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.
Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here.
Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all !
What a totally unnecessary and pointless comment!
[quote][p][bold]Guernsey gull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.[/p][/quote]Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here. Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all ![/p][/quote]What a totally unnecessary and pointless comment! brighton bluenose
  • Score: 5

8:38am Wed 23 Jul 14

fratsomrover says...

It will be great to get Crofty back. He was playing very well when he picked up his injury.
However I have to ask what is it with our club and injuries ?? Does it appear to anyone else that we do seem to have more injuries than other clubs. Crofts has been out for ages, his replacement Stephens followed suit. The article also refers to Bradley Barry who has been out for 11 months, Buckley is injured more often than fit, Orlandi, Lopez and Vicente could never stay fit. Lua Lua is injury prone, Rohan Ince mised the end of last season too.
It does seem odd to me that with all our medical expertise, we suffer so badly in the injury department.
It will be great to get Crofty back. He was playing very well when he picked up his injury. However I have to ask what is it with our club and injuries ?? Does it appear to anyone else that we do seem to have more injuries than other clubs. Crofts has been out for ages, his replacement Stephens followed suit. The article also refers to Bradley Barry who has been out for 11 months, Buckley is injured more often than fit, Orlandi, Lopez and Vicente could never stay fit. Lua Lua is injury prone, Rohan Ince mised the end of last season too. It does seem odd to me that with all our medical expertise, we suffer so badly in the injury department. fratsomrover
  • Score: 0

9:14am Wed 23 Jul 14

gilbertthecat says...

brighton bluenose wrote:
Guernsey gull wrote:
VegasSeagull wrote:
People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.
Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here.
Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all !
What a totally unnecessary and pointless comment!
BB - agree!
GG - play nice!
VS - did your keyboard packup? ;-))
[quote][p][bold]brighton bluenose[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Guernsey gull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.[/p][/quote]Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here. Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all ![/p][/quote]What a totally unnecessary and pointless comment![/p][/quote]BB - agree! GG - play nice! VS - did your keyboard packup? ;-)) gilbertthecat
  • Score: 4

2:52pm Wed 23 Jul 14

pte says...

brighton bluenose wrote:
Guernsey gull wrote:
VegasSeagull wrote:
People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.
Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here.
Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all !
What a totally unnecessary and pointless comment!
Not really, when you see a posting of something over 6" long containing mainly the subjective thoughts and speculation of one person the tendency is to not to read it.

So rather than being rude he is being helpful pointing out that if you want to be read keep it concise. What is the point of writing at length something that originated from a seed planted by the clubs PR team if no one is going to bother to read it?

We all have our favorite posters which we look out for and pay less attention to the rest maybe only reading the first paragraph
[quote][p][bold]brighton bluenose[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Guernsey gull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: People talk of signing quality, in Crofts we have quality and he is returning for free.[/p][/quote]Vegas, that must be the shortest, and to the point comment you have ever made on here. Much better than your normal endless views and comments, from somebody who is very rarely, if ever ,at the Amex, to make any comment at all ![/p][/quote]What a totally unnecessary and pointless comment![/p][/quote]Not really, when you see a posting of something over 6" long containing mainly the subjective thoughts and speculation of one person the tendency is to not to read it. So rather than being rude he is being helpful pointing out that if you want to be read keep it concise. What is the point of writing at length something that originated from a seed planted by the clubs PR team if no one is going to bother to read it? We all have our favorite posters which we look out for and pay less attention to the rest maybe only reading the first paragraph pte
  • Score: 0

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