The Albion treatment room is suddenly a lonely place for Steve Sidwell.

While Beram Kayal and Sam Baldock edge towards their first team returns, Sidwell is restricted to media work as he recovers from the worst injury of a long and distinguished career.

Worst at least in terms of inconvenience. Sidwell made 34 appearances in last season's Championship promotion campaign.

A prolapsed disc in his back, which was pressing on a nerve and required urgent surgery, has so far prevented the midfielder, 35 next month, from adding to his 200 Premier League outings for Reading, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Fulham and Stoke.

The Argus: "It's frustrating, because the boys are doing well," Sidwell (above) said. "It's part and parcel when you are out injured, you've got to support the lads, but I'm not the best watcher.

"I'm kicking every ball, even when I'm at home or in the stands. Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later, but I've got to be careful.

"This is probably the worst (injury), timing wise. We got promoted to the Premier League. There's still a big buzz around the club at the moment, around the community, and you want to be a part of it.

"I played a part in the promotion and you want to play a part in staying in the Premier League, creating more history.

"As a footballer it's part and parcel of the game and you've just got to deal with it, stay strong.

"I think mentally I'm very strong anyway, so it wouldn't put me off. I'll be back fit and stronger."

While Sidwell strives to recover, his colleagues continue to surprise themselves. Most are experiencing the Premier League for the first time.

He told The Argus: "I think a lot of them individually would say they've coped better than they thought, because they were going into the unknown.

"Obviously, they will have backed their ability but they were still not sure whether they would be able to compare with the elite.

"The majority have done really well, some have been exceptional - Solly March, Duffy (below), Dunk have really stood up and been superb.

The Argus: "Others have seen that and will be around that. Slowly everyone is getting game time and gaining confidence.

"It helps that other teams around us are not doing great. You've got to make the most of that, pick up as many points as you can as early as you can and stay up. That's the target."

The compilation quest continues on Saturday at struggling Swansea, where Albion will be looking to build on their first away win at West Ham.

As expected, twice as many points have been gained so far at the Amex as away. Sunday's draw with Southampton stretched the undefeated home sequence to four games but Sidwell says the impressive 3-0 victory at the London Stadium will have instilled more travelling belief.

"Massively with that West Ham performance, which ticked all the boxes," he said. "If you looked at the Bournemouth game (lost 2-1), our game plan there was fantastic, it was just a bit of fatigue and brilliance (by sub Jordan Ibe).

"There were a lot of positives from that as well but certainly more from West Ham. The lads will now know that going to a tough place like that - because it is a tough place albeit a new stadium - confidence will be on the rise.

"At home we're strong but away we've got a good discipline, good team shape, and we'll be hard to beat."

Sidwell could find himself on media duty again afrter Swansea and the international break for the visit of former club Stoke, where he spent two years before rejoining Albion.

No timescale has been put on his return but Sidwell will hope to be in contention by the time West Ham, Swansea and Stoke are confronted again in February.

He said: "Someone told me a long time ago, not many people remember the first half of the season, they remember the back end of the season.

"If I can be fit and play a key role in that then great."