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Albion step up search for central defender
ALBION are stepping up their efforts to sign a centre-half before the close of the January transfer window on Thursday night, with captain Gordon Greer ruled out for three weeks.
Greer will miss at least the next three matches of the Seagulls’ push for a place in the Championship play-offs after limping out of the 3-2 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at The Amex with a hamstring injury in the first half.
The Seagulls were already trying to sign a central defender before Greer’s injury. They could now make a fresh approach for Virgil van Dijk after Groningen rejected their bid for the Dutch under-21 international.
Albion’s interest in other centre- half targets will intensify as well after Greer’s departure exposed a shortage of back-up. With Lewis Dunk involved in a court case, Inigo Calderon had to move into the centre of defence against the Gunners and David from midfield to right-back.
Boss Gus Poyet admitted to The Argus: “We need to work. I think we are lucky that it’s before the 31st of January.”
Poyet said of a renewed attempt to land van Dijk: “We’ll see, we are still in contact but it depends on so many things. You never know.”
The defensive crisis could be eased by the return of regular right-back Bruno (Achilles) for Saturday’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday. Poyet is also confident another recurrence of hamstring trouble which forced off winger Will Buckley at half-time against Arsenal is nothing serious. He said: “Bucker was feeling his hamstring again. I think it was tension. When you play in those type of games you are very tense. That one is maybe not that bad.”
Albion are five points outside the play-offs following Watford”s 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
The defeat by Arsenal means Blackburn”s visit on February 12 goes ahead as scheduled but the game at Barnsley four days later will have to be rearranged as they are still involved in the FA Cup.