No Thorne loan for now, Clarke says
West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke has changed his mind over sending midfielder George Thorne on loan to a Championship club.
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Watford and Derby County had both enquired about Thorne as he continues his rehabilitation from a major knee injury, suffered last season.
Gianfranco Zola, the Watford manager, thought he had an agreement in the international break to take Thorne to Vicarage Road while, more recently, new Derby boss Steve McClaren has asked about the youngster's availability.
Last week, Clarke said he was looking to send out Thorne on loan for first-team action, but he has been forced into a re-think as WBA look to ensure a full recovery from a cruciate ligament injury.
Thorne was taken off early in Albion's recent under-21 game against Liverpool on Sunday and Clarke feels the player would be best served by remaining under the supervision of WBA's medical staff.
"At the moment the thing for George is to concentrate on his fitness first and foremost," Clarke told the club’s official website. "He’s had a couple of under-21 games where he hasn’t been able to finish. He’s still looking for a little bit of fitness to take forward for the rest of the season.
"If George gets to a stage of his fitness where he’s able to handle a loan move then it’s something we’d consider, but I would have to say now it’s better he stays here and works with the medical people, who know how he’s recovering."
Thorne is accompanying Zoltan Gera, who is also rehabilitating after a second serious knee injury in the space of three seasons, and Clarke wants to do all he can to ensure the pair could be available for the second half of the season.
"Both he and Zoltan are coming back from long-term injuries and on the way back they’ll pick up little niggles along the way," he said. "We’re working on a no-risk policy because we have a big squad and we don’t have to push the players to be back."