Albion are willing to give a left-field defensive mission for their skipper another go.

But it is not likely to be against striker-light Aston Villa.

Head coach Graham Potter concedes his decision to use Lewis Dunk as left-of-centre defender at Everton last Saturday did not work.

In fact, he had recognised that by half-time, at which stage he reverted to a four with Martin Montoya at left-back and Bernardo roaming in midfield.

Theo Walcott enjoyed his match-up with Dunk and got in behind the centre-back, notably on one occasion which could have led to the defender being sent off and being no part of selection decisions for the Villa game.

That is not to say the Seagulls were exactly watertight on the other side, either, where Adam Webster played to the right.

Shane Duffy enjoyed his central role and was the only one who really looked comfortable.

A left-sided role in a three was a first for Dunk and Potter remains convinced he can adapt to it.

The Albion boss said: “I don’t think it worked on the day would be my feedback on that.

“That is not to say it can’t work, full stop.

“But, on the day, it did not really work. I am sure Lewis would say the same thing.

“I think it can work because Lewis has got the quality for it to work.”

Albion have needed to find someone to take that role when they play a three while Dan Burn is out injured.

Whether three centre-backs are required against a Villa side who have no recognised centre-forward remains to be seen.

As, with a game at Bournemouth looming on Tuesday, does how Albion look after Duffy, who has a groin issue he admits he is having to manage.

Bernardo looks set to play at left-back against Villa but the option of using him in midfield is still a viable one.

Potter said: “If you look at his career, he plays at left-back and also in midfield.

“He is athletic and he can press and he can give you a balance with his left foot.

“Clearly I think his best position, or the one he prefers, is left-back but it is another option.”

Anyone looking at the club’s website this week would have seen a gallery of pictures from Wednesday’s training session in which Aaron Mooy was prominent.

Mooy, whose red card at Villa Park was the turning point in a cruel defeat for the Seagulls, has recovered from a knee problem and is available for the return fixture.

He would love to impress and looks a strong candidate to come back into the fold.

So do his fellow midfielders Steven Alzate and Pascal Gross while Yves Bissouma has had his moments of late so selection will be interesting.

Albion have been careful in their handling of Alzate and fellow rookie Aaron Connolly, who was not in the 18 at Goodison.

Alzate was part of an improvement in the later stages on Merseyside as his clever use of the ball helped knit moves together.

A lack of muscular or fatigue-related injuries – when other teams have been badly hit – is seen as evidence that Albion’s careful management of minutes, especially over Christmas and New Year, was wise.

Webster and Alireza Jahanbakhsh missed the start of this week’s work with what Potter called “bumps and bruises” from Everton.

But they have resumed training and no problems were anticipated for the Villa game as Potter spoke to the media yesterday lunchtime.

Albion go into the match with one win in seven and a buffer of just three points over the relegation places.

Potter said: “We have had some good performances.

“In the last four we have picked up four points, which is Tottenham away, Everton away, Chelsea at home and Bournemouth at home.

“That is probably about par for where we are.

“We played well against Crystal Palace and got a point.

“We didn’t play well – although not as bad as people think – against Sheffield United but we lost 1-0.

“The margins in the Premier League are so small.

“It is the toughest competition in the world.

“Every win, every point is really valuable.”