Albion have targeted Chris Baird as a potential replacement for Adam El-Abd.

But they face competition for the Northern Ireland international from other Championship clubs.

Baird’s four-month contract with Reading expired on Monday.

He has been sidelined for seven weeks by an ankle injury and Reading are assessing his fitness before deciding whether they want to try to keep him.

Baird, 31, is free in the meantime to talk with other clubs.

That has alerted Albion, who need a replacement for long-serving third choice centre-half Adam El-Abd following his move to Bristol City last week.

Baird, formerly with Fulham and Southampton, can play anywhere across the back four.

Big-spending Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town are also reportedly interested in him.

Meanwhile, Albion have been boosted by the return to fitness of Kazenga LuaLua ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Port Vale.

The left-winger returned to training at The Amex last night after missing Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Derby County with a minor hamstring injury.

Right-winger Will Buckley (hamstring) is scheduled to resume training tomorrow.