Rohan Ince has been hailed as Albion’s big surprise of the season.
Team-mate Andrea Orlandi has also praised head coach Oscar Garcia for spotting the potential of the 21-year-old as a midfielder.
Ince returns to the starting line-up against Birmingham at The Amex today after signing a new contract until June 2016.
Orlandi told The Argus: “For me he’s a big surprise. In pre-season he started at centre-back and I couldn’t see the potential but then he played in midfield against Getafe and he was like a different player.
“He has got everything – size, technique, and he's improving every game. I think he's the big surprise of the season.
“I am pleased for him and I am pleased for Oscar as well. He had to play him because of the injuries and now he has a big, big player. He saw that potential because I am being honest I didn't see it.
"In midfield he's got presence and when he hasn't played we probably didn't get the results we wanted, so he's a good player for the team."
Liam Bridcutt's involvement today is in doubt, irrespective of Sunderland's interest and his rejected midweek transfer request. He has still been troubled this week by a groin injury responsible for him being rested from the FA Cup victory over Reading.