Solly March has been ruled out of Albion’s key clash against Wigan at the Amex today.
The 19-year-old could return from a minor hamstring injury for Monday’s FA Cup fifth round replay at Hull but March’s absence has added to Albion’s right-wing headache.
They are treading carefully with Will Buckley as they launch into a hectic climax to the season on two fronts.
Wigan’s visit kicks-off a minimum 17 matches in the Championship and FA Cup squeezed into the final ten weeks of the regular season.
Persistent hamstring problems have contributed to Buckley already missing 13 of Albion’s 34 games.
He had his first outing of the year in the first half of Monday’s FA Cup fifth round deadlock against Hull before he was substituted by March at his own request.
Buckley is on course for some involvement in the quickfire double-header against Wigan and Hull but Albion are easing him back gradually.
Helge Riepenhof, head of sports medicine and science, told The Argus: "The most important thing is to get him back and also get him stronger to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"The heavy pitches don't help with muscle injuries and Will is a very fast runner, not only in the first couple of metres but also distances like 30 to 40 metres. That is where you have the highest load on hamstrings, especially with heavy pitches.
"We have to bring him back through the games. In the first game he plays 45 minutes, the next game more minutes.
"It doesn't mean he cannot play 90 minutes. He can but it would be very unlikely he could then play the next game. Another 90 on Monday would be very complicated. It's not only Will, it's a lot of players."
March's absence and the concerns over Buckley have opened the door for David Lopez to return to starting contention.