No one who saw Tommy Elphick yesterday would have needed to ask him if he played against Bournemouth.

In the famous words of old Match Of The Day commentator Barry Davies: "Look at his face, just look at his face!"

The young Albion centre-back might not have been smiling from ear to ear after his first outing in six weeks.

But the bruising around his right eye will have given it away. Elphick is back in the thick of it and battling with the target men of League One again.

In this case, the Cherries' young prospect Sam Vokes, a clash with whom left Elphick showing the scars of battle inside the first few minutes of Tuesdays 3-2 Albion win.

It is a measure of the impact made by Elphick in his rookie first-team season that, when he was called into the squad to face Bournemouth after illness ruled out Joel Lynch, there seemed little doubt he would start the game.

Dean Wilkins gave nothing away ahead of the game but it seemed unlikely Elphick, who came through a practice match on Saturday, was being brought back to sit on the bench.

Five weeks after hernia surgery, he got through 90 tough League One minutes, thanks to the club's medical team of Malcolm Stuart, Matt Miller (known as Stretch) and Kim Eaton.

The 20-year-old youth team graduate said: "When youre injured it's a horrible time because you're away from the players.

"You're not involved and you're training at different times so it's definitely the hardest thing for a footballer, being injured.

"Hopefully it has been a little bit of a blessing in disguise for me, though, because I can refresh myself and go again for the new year.

"Coming back has been a day-by-day thing. One day you feel good, the next you feel bad.

"You do a lot of core work, things like sit-ups, just concentrating around the hip area.

"It's testament to Mal, Stretch and Kim that they got me back in five weeks.

How did you rate Tommy Elphick's comeback performance?