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Oscar puts up a brave front
Albion head coach Oscar Garcia has put a brave face on the injury problems ravaging the start of his reign.
The Spaniard is resigned to being without Liam Bridcutt for several weeks after the key defensive midfielder had hernia surgery yesterday.
Midfielder Andrea Orlandi (knee) also remains a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City.
Oscar told The Argus: “I am not sure how long Bridcutt will be out but it will be for some weeks.
“It’s another big problem and Orlandi is 90% certain to be missing against Birmingham as well.
“The only thing we can do in this situation is work hard. I am not disappointed with how we are playing.”
Oscar has further worries tonight, with four members of his squad on international duty.
They include experienced trio Gordon Greer, Adam El-Abd and Andrew Crofts but Vitalijs Maksimenko is the player Oscar will be most fearful of losing, with his full-back options already severely restricted for the visit to Birmingham.
The 22-year-old is one of seven defenders named by Marian Pahars, his former manager at Skonto Riga, in the squad for Latvia’s friendly away to Estonia.
He has been capped three times by his country and is expected to play some part in the clash in Tallinn. Maksimenko made his Championship debut for Albion at left-back in last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Derby County.
He has suddenly been promoted into first team contention by injuries to first choice right-back Bruno (hamstring) and young left-back Adam Chicksen (ankle), who was signed in July from MK Dons.
One glimmer of hope on the injury front for Oscar is the return to full training of Chicksen.
Greer is likely to be among the substitutes for Scotland against England at Wembley. El-Abd is in the Egypt squad for their home game against Uganda and Crofts was a late call-up by Wales for their friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff.
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