Grant Hall is being lined up for his first Albion start against Wrexham tomorrow alongside Adam El-Abd at centre-half.

The 20-year-old defender from the development squad made his debut at left-back against Southampton on Monday as a second-half substitute for the injured Mauricio Taricco.

Boss Gus Poyet said: “He is normally a centre-half. He played in a position we have never seen him in before against Southampton.

“He was a bit lucky, because it was against ten and not 11, but saying that his first game could have been against easier opposition.”

Albion are short of defenders for Wrexham’s FA Cup visit. Taricco and Marcos Painter (both hamstring) are definitely out and fast-tracking Inigo Calderon back from keyhole knee surgery could be risky.

Gordon Greer and Lewis Dunk are both suspended and Steve Cook has been sold to Bournemouth but Poyet is confident Hall can step in and do a good job.

He told The Argus: “Grant is another of the players, with Cooky and a few others, who improved a lot in the last six months training every day with Luke (Williams, development coach). He is a totally different player from when I got here.

“He had some ability and strength but now he looks ten times more comfortable on the ball. He doesn’t panic when he needs to pass it.

“I’m pleased with him and, of course, he is going to play on Saturday. I’ve got no worries, I hope he doesn’t.

“Like I said to Cooky when he played against Liverpool and to Dunky when he played his first game against MK Dons, it doesn’t matter what you have done in the last ten years, it’s about what you are going to do at three o’clock on Saturday."

Development squad right-back Ben Sampayo, midfielders Anton Rodgers and Yaser Kasim and striker Torbjorn Agdestein are also in squad contention for the third round tie against Wrexham, with seven substitutes permitted in the FA Cup.