Graham Potter says Albion can cope with losing a big name player.

But he expects Yves Bissouma to shrug off transfer speculation – and remain with the club this month.

Bissouma, who missed the early-season draw at Crystal Palace due to injury, will also be absent from the return fixture tonight.

Transfer headlines surrounding him continue while he plays for Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Potter said: “I think players at this level know that there’s speculation.

“It’s a part of what they have to deal with.

“They know as a squad to focus on their football and what they are doing and let the things you can’t really control not impact you.”

Potter added: “I am confident (he will stay) but, with the transfer window, you never know.

“It doesn’t matter what I say, you never know.

“We have to adapt to anything, which we have done.


“You can’t always plan for something you don’t necessarily foresee.

“He’s in a good place, but we will see.”

Asked whether Albion could cope with a big-name departure, Potter replied: “I would say so.

“If you look at the Ben White situation, for example.

“You want to keep your players but, at the same time, there is the value of making a sale of such a big number that we got for Ben.

“It was a win-win-win situation because Ben gets a chance to move to a club that’s pushing for the Champions League, they’re getting a good player and we’re getting a good fee.

“Sometimes it’s the right thing for everybody. We didn’t add a centre-back after that but we still did well as a team and it’s the same for every area.

“We feel that we’ve got some players that can take steps forward as well.

“When they play, that’s how they improve. It’s not rocket science. We’ve got a lot of players who are pushing to play, it’s not just XI.

“Whatever happens, I think we’ve got cover in a lot of positions.”

Mali face Gambia on Sunday in the group stage.

Albion under-23s striker Ulrick Eneme Ella could feature for Gabon this evening as they take on Ghana.