Matt Clarke desperate for return to West Brom after injury

Defender Matt Clarke admits he cannot wait for the international break to be over so he can get back playing for Albion.

David McGoldrick of Sheffield United and Matt Clarke of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)
David McGoldrick of Sheffield United and Matt Clarke of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

The centre-back began the season in impressive form for the Baggies after arriving on a season-long loan from Brighton.

But he pulled a hamstring during the win at Blackburn back in August and hasn’t featured since.

Clarke remained an unused substitute during the defeat at Stoke last Friday.

He then got a crucial 45 minutes under his belt when he featured in Albion’s Premier League 2 clash with Sunderland on Monday.

And now he has his sights set on returning to the first team when Albion host Blues in the derby a week on Friday.

“As soon as you are injured you look for the return date and when you might be back playing,” Clarke said.

“Although I was in the squad for Stoke, it wasn’t really ideal as I didn’t feel as though I would be featuring.

“I was always pencilled in to play in the Premier League 2 game on Monday against Sunderland.

“It was nice to get out there and get through it.

“The rehab went really well and I felt in myself that I could have been ready to come back before I did, but I was happy to follow the advice of the medical team who told me that the location of the injury meant I had to be patient and not return too soon.

“You have to give it time to settle and heal, which obviously brings a little bit of frustration but you have to make sure you’re right.

“The way the rehab is structured, you never feel as though there are any risks.

“You don’t do anything that could ever put you at risk or harm the rehab process.

“I felt good on Monday night and I felt I probably could have played longer, but it was always pencilled in that I was going to play 45 minutes.

“It’s the way football goes. I feel like I’m now ready but it’s the international break and there are no games to play.

“It does give me a chance to catch up even further in terms of fitness and sharpness, so we will see where we are when the matches return.”

Meanwhile, Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has once again been linked with a move to Tottenham.

Following his outstanding performances in the Premier League last season, Johnstone had been expected to leave the Baggies over the summer.

But with few top flight clubs in the market for a keeper, a £6million offer from West Ham was the only bid Albion received.

That bid was immediately rejected despite Johnstone being out of contract at the end of this season.

The England international has since opened talks with the club in regards to extending his stay at The Hawthorns.

But speaking last month, boss Valerien Ismael said those contract talks will ‘take time’.

According to reports, Tottenham have sent scouts to all Albion’s games this season in a bid to monitor Johnstone’s progress.

Spurs’ number one Hugo Loris’s contract expires this summer with the 34-year-old is linked with a return to his native France.

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