West Brom news: Verdict emerges on 2 players affecting Baggies' form ahead of derby boost

West Brom manager Valerien Ismael on the touchline

Journalist Luke Hatfield feels that West Brom have been badly affected by injuries to defenders Dara O'Shea and Matt Clarke in recent weeks.

The Baggies have had to cope without the duo for a number of matches this season, and Hatfield believes it's been a struggle for Valerien Ismael's men at times.

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The Midlands-based club started the season in irresistible form, winning four of their opening five Championship games.

However, they are currently on a run of just two victories in their last six league fixtures, and this has coincided with O'Shea and Clarke being unavailable.

West Brom are still inside the top two, as things stand, but they need to start picking up regular wins again if they want to stay there and remain on course for promotion this term.

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What has Hatfield said about O'Shea and Clarke?

Hatfield does not believe it's a coincidence that West Brom's form has dipped since O'Shea and Clarke picked up their respective injuries. 

Speaking about the club's recent issues on the pitch, Hatfield said: “Obviously injuries haven’t helped. They lost Matt Clarke, Dara O’Shea, two big men at the back. And that’ll have had an impact.”

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When could O'Shea and Clarke be back in action?

West Brom could be handed a major boost for their Midlands derby clash with Birmingham on Friday, as Clarke may return to the starting line-up.

Having missed six consecutive matches in August and September, he was back on the bench for the team's defeat to Stoke before the international break, and could now be pushing to regain his place in the team for the game at the Hawthorns.

The Brighton loanee has plenty of experience at this level, as he has featured in 84 Championship matches, and he could bring added stability to the back three if he is fit enough to play.

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The news on O'Shea is less positive. The 22-year-old Irishman fractured his ankle while on international duty last month against Portugal, and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

He is expected to be out for up to six months, meaning that he is likely to be unable to contribute to West Brom's promotion for the majority of the season.

Therefore, Ismael's side must learn to deal with O'Shea's absence, or their plans to get back into the Premier League could be derailed. 

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