Graham Potter has revealed how he is making a wing-back system work - without any wing-backs.

The Albion boss’s faith in that way of playing is now beyond doubt.

Or at least a variation based on the wing-back format.

(In the same way as Chris Hughton used to say he played “a version of 4-4-2).

Albion have been managing with three senior defenders since half-time of the win against Southampton.

That situation might be eased against Everton with Dan Burn and Adam Webster both close to availability after injury.

That could, for example, lead to Joel Veltman at right wing-back and Dan Burn down the left.

But, even though that feels more familiar than using Pascal Gross and Jakub Moder out wide, it would still represent a Plan B.

Plan A is Tariq Lamptey and Solly March but they are both out for the rest of the season.

Bernardo, who appears to have attributes for wing-back or left-sided centre-back in a three, is obviously out of the plans.

So Potter has looked within his squad for options to operate his preferred system.

That is not necessarily new.

Early last season, he used Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Steven Alzate in wing-back roles.

But it has become more obvious of late with Pascal Gross on the right and first Andi Zeqiri, then Jakub Moder on the left.

Michal Karbownik is one to keep an eye on. He was very bright for the under-23s against Southampton on Friday and indications so far are that he is better going forward then defensively.

Wing-back is probably not a role youngsters grow up aiming to play in the way of a goalkeeper, centre-back, centre-forward or even full-back.

So a head coach or manager will have to be imaginative, looking for the right qualities in, most usually, a full-back or winger.

Potter accepts that. He was converted to wing-back by Brian Horton at Macclesfield 17 years ago now.

“Drawing on my own experience is not too helpful!” Potter told The Argus with a laugh as he thought back to those days in League Two.

“If you go through the season, we have started with Tariq and Solly.

“Over time we lost both those guys.

“I think the key thing is what we ask of Jakub is not the same as what we ask from Tariq, for example.

“What we ask of Joel Veltman isn’t the same as what we ask of Solly March.

“It’s the role we do when we are defending, it’s the role we do when we are attacking.

“What can we ask of them which suits them and which makes the most of the attributes they have?

“For example, Solly March will play the position completely different to Jakub because Solly is left-footed and he has more chance of going around the outside of people.

“Jakub will play it in a slightly different way, so it is about understanding that as a team, really.

“Sometimes it looks like it’s a wing-back position but it’s actually a left midfield position or a right-back position.

“I don’t think it’s quite as definitive as it feels.

“It depends on how the player in the position plays that role.”

You cannot get it right every time.

Potter will surely have tried players at wing-back in training without success and not taken it any further.

“Of course,” he said. “That’s the whole process of training.

“It’s about balance. You don’t want to expose people to something they can’t do very well. We want to try and make sure they do things that they do well often.

“Training is part of seeing how that works.



“But, out of necessity, we have had to do it at times because we have only had three defenders in the last two-and-a-half games.

“We have had to work in that way.

“I think Pascal at times at Manchester United looked like he was playing as a right-back in a four, for example, whereas Jakub was a little bit higher up.

“And sometimes it looked like they were in wing-back positions.

“It’s just an understanding of the role in and out of possession and also the attributes of the person.”