Albion manager Mark McGhee has launched a search for a loan defender after Adam Hinshelwood was ruled out for the start of the season.

Hinshelwood was stretchered off with suspected medial knee ligament damage in the first half of last night's 1-0 pre-season win at Colchester.

The young defender missed most of last season with a cruciate injury in the same knee.

With Guy Butters already doubtful for the August 5 kick-off at Rotherham and Joel Lynch struggling with a thigh problem, McGhee has now made finding defensive cover his priority.

He said: "We suspect he (Hinshelwood) has damaged his medial ligament, which is not as serious as his cruciate but is still a terrible blow for the lad.

"It is probably weeks rather than months but it depends on the extent of the damage.

"Fingers crossed it is not a bad one but obviously we are very concerned about it.

"It is going to be the middle of next week before Joel is in full training and Guy we are not sure about so we are going to have to go away and think about it.

"I think Tommy (Elphick) is too inexperienced to go to somewhere like Rotherham so we have to be looking at some other solution, like loan players."

McGhee has decided not to pursue his interest in French trialists Jacques Williams and Zoumana Bakayoko but will have a second look at Martin Brittain and Dan McBreen at Crawley tomorrow.

Former Newcastle reserve winger Brittain played 90 minutes at Layer Road after returning from an unsuccessful trial at Hull.

He had earlier played in the opening game of pre-season at Worthing earlier this month. Australian McBreen, a 29-year-old who has played in Scotland with Falkirk and in Romania, set up the winning goal for Colin Kazim-Richards after coming on in the second half.

McGhee said: "I like Martin a lot. He is very short of match fitness and he needed that game. He will get another 90 minutes against Crawley.

"With Dan McBreen, no ball went unchallenged that he was in the vicinity of. He never gave the centre halves the opportunity to get a free header and I like the look of that. We need to see more of him.