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West Bromwich AlbionWest Bromwich Albion
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Lescott to miss West Brom opener

Summer signing Joleon Lescott will not feature in West Brom's Premier League opener against Sunderland on Saturday, but Albion head coach Alan Irvine expects the defender to return to full training next week.

Lescott, who officially joined Albion on July 1 after his contract with Manchester City expired, is to sit out this weekend's match at The Hawthorns because of a knee problem he sustained in a friendly clash with Nottingham Forest earlier this month.

And Irvine said of the 31-year-old: "It's important that we make sure we bring Joleon back in at the right moment.

"He was desperate to get back in and make sure he was ready for the start of the season and probably, with hindsight, he came back a little bit too early. But what do you do when a senior player is that desperate to play and says he's okay?

"It's difficult for the medical people to override that. This time we're being a little bit more cautious to make sure that he's definitely ready for when he comes back.

"We expect him to train with the group next week and we'll take it from there but the most important thing is that Joleon is available for most of the season, so if he misses a couple of games now, so be it.''

One new recruit that is in contention for his competitive West Brom debut this weekend is the club's record signing Brown Ideye -- even though he only arrived at The Hawthorns on Friday after a long wait for a visa.

The Nigeria striker did not take long from there to make a good impression for his new employers, netting twice in an hour-long appearance in a behind-closed-doors under-21s friendly with Forest on Tuesday.

And Irvine -- a new arrival at Albion himself this summer -- said of Ideye: "Brown's in our thoughts for the weekend, without any question.

"He's been here less than week so it will be a big ask if we do decide to put him in. But I've been really pleased with the level of his fitness. Because he hasn't had a full pre-season he isn't where I'd expect him to get to. But he has certainly come in good condition and has looked after himself.

"I'm sure the fans will look forward to seeing him and it's important we pick the right moments to put him in and look after him in these first few weeks.

"There is a danger of asking him to do too much too soon and then risking him getting injured. In terms of match fitness he's not where we'd like him to be.

"But he's looking fitter by the day and he's a good athlete anyway. He's not somebody I think who has great difficulties getting fit. He's just not had that much time. I've been pleased with what I've seen considering how late Brown came in.''


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