Will Buckley could be back in contention for Albion – and back on Sunderland’s radar.
The Seagulls hope to have Buckley available to help them wing their way through to the last 16 of the FA Cup.
Saturday’s tie at Port Vale has been earmarked as a possible return to action for Buckley from four weeks out with more hamstring trouble.
The right-winger’s latest injury, sustained in the victory at Blackpool, coincided with Sunderland mounting a bid to buy him for around £1.75 million.
The Black Cats’ former Albion boss Gus Poyet wants Buckley and Liam Bridcutt to help their fight for Premier League survival but the Seagulls have so far rejected their advances.
Buckley’s injury has put Sunderland’s interest in signing him on the backburner but his recovery is expected to re-ignite Poyet’s admiration for the 25-year-old he bought for Albion from Watford for £1 million three summers ago.
Buckley’s continuing absence together with Kazenga LuaLua, also the victim of a hamstring injury, deprived head coach Oscar Garcia of natural width and pace in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Derby County.
Buckley may not be risked from the start in the Potteries, so 19-year-old Solly March could make his full away debut against a stand-in after starring in the third round win against Reading at The Amex.
Carl Dickinson, Vale’s regular left-back, has been ruled out by a two-match ban for racing to ten bookings.
Oscar will have half an eye on next Tuesday’s Championship visit to Burnley, although the Spaniard's rotation options are now restricted by injuries and the sales of Ashley Barnes and Adam El-Abd.
A replay if required will take place at The Amex on Wednesday February 5, giving Albion an extra 24 hours to recover from their League trip to Watford the previous Sunday.