Albion boss Sami Hyypia hopes to have Solly March fit to offer an attacking spark in the Capital One Cup against Cheltenham at the Amex tomorrow night after his side drew a blank in their opening day setback against Sheffield Wednesday.
England under-21 international March missed Saturday’s 1-0 defeat with a back injury, so Hyypia handed fellow youngster Shamir Fenelon his debut for the Seagulls ahead of Will Buckley.
Hyypia said: “He (March) has some stiffness in the back. We didn’t want to take any risks with him, have him on the bench, then after ten minutes he has a problem and has to come off again. That would have been foolish, so we decided to leave it.
“I was hoping he would play but we tested it and he wasn’t able to. He is a very young player. I wouldn’t say he is key but he would be very important for us.
“Solly would have started if he was fit but then Shamir deserved his chance. He’d done well pre-season. I like it when players are doing well and working hard every day.”
Albion had Andrew Crofts sent-off early in the second half for a dangerous tackle on Sam Hutchinson following Giles Coke’s spectacular effort late in the first half for the visitors.
Hyypia said: “It’s not nice to lose but I liked the effort of everyone. The red card didn’t make it any easier but we kept going and probably deserved the equalising goal.
“We can take a lot of positives. The effort was there. Maybe in the final third the quality and the precision wasn’t always there. We made wrong decisions and when we did the right ones we maybe could have created a few more chances.”
Crofts, making his competitive comeback from cruciate knee ligament danage in January, faces a three-match ban after catching Hutchinson above his right ankle.
Albion’s debut keeper David Stockdale said: “I felt there was no intent to hurt the player. Even if his foot was raised I thought it was because the ball was off the ground.
“The other guy might have gone into his boot as well but if he has got his studs showing it might have been a red. I can’t really comment if I’d given it or not because I’m not a ref.”
- Hughton rues 'missed opportunity' for Albion
- Cardiff City 0 Albion 0: How we reported the action from the Cardiff City Stadium
- Murphy's Law for Albion, no moaning if you do not make the starting X1
- Albion star Stephens reveals turning point moment in Cardiff
- Albion Nostalgia: Zamora earns a point - and there's a familiar face in the dugout