Graham Potter has never seen Shane Duffy playing so well in an Albion shirt.

And that could be very handy as he faces some big decisions in defence.

An over-booking – whether they play three at the back or a four – is no problem with so many games to play.

But there are some intriguing choices to make if everyone stays fit and suspension-free.

Lewis Dunk is a certain starter but how does Potter play it with Adam Webster, Duffy, Dan Burn and Joel Veltman?

Of course it seems very likely Tariq Lamptey will be missing for part of the three games ahead between now and next Saturday afternoon.

That maybe opens up the right-back berth for Veltman.

Maybe – although that was not the case when Lamptey went off at Villa Park.

But there are options there – and that includes Duffy as he makes the most of his qualities.

There is a school of thought the big Irishman is not comfortable passing or carrying the ball out from the back.

Potter is convinced he can do it.

He just needed his eyes opening to the possibilities.

Albion’s head coach said: “Shane has the ability to execute passes.

“He has always had that quality. What we have to help him with is his decision-making and the understanding from a team perspective about which pass to play and when. “He has taken steps with that. He is open-minded, he wants to learn, and he wants to improve and support the team.

“Whatever role you ask Shane Duffy to play, he will play with the best of his intentions. “We’ve always said, he came back from Celtic and was welcomed here with open arms because he’s such a good character.

“What he has done for this club makes him a legend here and we love him.”

Duffy’s headline moment of late was his Cruyff-style turn to get the ball away from Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the last defender.

Perhaps more important was the clean sheet he helped the Irish complete that night.

His international boss Stephen Kenny said after that game he had never seen Duffy pass the ball as well and praised the way he had handled a tough year.

Potter said: “I’ve been really impressed and I’d echo Stephen’s comments in terms of how impressive Shane has been as a human being through a tough period in his life.

“I think sometimes you have to hit the bottom and then you then you go back up again.


“Probably if you speak to Shane he would suggest that’s what happened for him.

“Then you take a stock of your life, and you make some decisions about what you want to do.

“He has been brave enough and strong enough and had the support of his friends, his family teammates, that to do that. “Now he’s getting the benefits of that.”

Potter added: “He’s absolutely in the best moment I’ve seen him during my time here, without a doubt.”