Albion have tired legs and minds in the period between visits to AEK and Chelsea.

This unprecedented blast of three away games including a European trip in nine days poses its own tests.

But there are some options there if they want to freshen things up.

Jan Paul van Hecke: The most obvious one. He didn’t play at AEK but travelled and trained with the squad. He has spoken about the need to show extra authority and responsibility when Lewis Dunk is not around and he has done that in parts of wins at Forest and Ajax. Now the challenge is to set that tone from kick-off.

James Milner: He made his return as a sub in the closing stages in Greece and that contribution will not have taken much out of a super-fit model pro who looks after himself impeccably. He could be an option at left-back although De Zerbi likes one of his full-backs to be a lively raider in attack and Jack Hinshelwood offers that to a greater degree than Milner, who has other qualities. De Zerbi could even use both men and rest Joel Veltman (see below).

Carlos Baleba: De Zerbi has made it clear he is being patient with the ex-Lille man but he did quite a good job keeping and carrying the ball late at AEK. Again, he is one who had just a short period on the OPAP Arena pitch. But he struggled at times when he started at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

Facundo Buonanotte: Put in a diligent shift in the second half at Forest but was not used in Greece. While signed for his creative talents, he was willing to work hard for the cause as Albion played with ten at the City Ground and that endeavour may be required again.

Adam Lallana: It is tempting to say he produced some clever touches at Forest but some of them were actually dummies. He didn’t go to Greece and was possibly taken off earlier than planned at Forest to preserve a substitution window.

Jakub Moder: Was thrown right back in at the deep end at Forest and helped Albion protect their win. Ninety minutes might be asking a bit much but he is a welcome return to the options.

Jason Steele: Possibly a strange one to mention. Goalkeepers do not run vast distances and there are those who believe changes should be kept to a minimum. De Zerbi does not subscribe to that view and he has Steele should he wish Bart Verbruggen to rest his body and/or mind.

The youngsters: There are several under-21s who make Jack Hinshelwood look like a veteran and could be on the bench to potentially spare more senior legs late on.

At the same time, there are some players with whom it would appear Albion must be careful.

Kaoru Mitoma: Started at AEK but was taken off earlier than usual (De Zerbi never used to take him off at all). Mitoma told Japanese reporters who spoke to him in Athens that he was not 100% in terms of fitness and it is clear there is some doubt over how much he will be risked.

Joel Veltman: Has got through a huge amount of defensive work in the past week and one’s mind goes back to something De Zerbi said recently about having used him too much during a similarly hectic period.

Pascal Gross: Has always been renowned for his stamina and that is being tested. Perhaps no bad thing that he wasn’t used by Germany in their recent games.

Evan Ferguson: After some recent injury concerns, he has been busy for club and country and took a battering at times in Greece.

Simon Adingra: Played twice in Africa recently and has been covering a lot of ground out wide for his club. That said, he has looked full of running.

 Joao Pedro: Went on earlier than planned at Forest after international duty in Brazil and put in another good shift at AEK, taking a painful knee to the back in the process. De Zerbi mentioned his fatigue in the post-match press conference and today expressed doubt as to whether he will face Chelsea.