West Brom boss Alan Irvine’s central defensive options going into the busy festive fixture period have been reduced by the loss of the influential Jonas Olsson for a month because of surgery on an Achilles’ tendon problem.
The 31-year-old Sweden international, who has made over 200 appearances for the Baggies since joining in 2008, will go under the knife in Portugal on Friday to remove some bone from the back of his left foot to help take pressure off his Achilles.
The problem has blighted Olsson for some time but he has decided to have the procedure done now in order to help him return a stronger player and enable him to fight for his first-team place.
Olsson told the club’s website: “I have been struggling with this on and off for some time and I’ve come to the point where it feels like surgery would help it.
“The recovery time is short so I hope to be back 100 per cent.”
Irvine has preferred summer signing Joleon Lescott and Craig Dawson as his central defensive pairing so far this season, while Olsson has failed to make the bench in recent weeks.
However, a return to full fitness early in 2015 will no doubt be a welcome boost for the club, especially with the possibility of injuries and suspensions biting into the squad following a glut of games over the next month.
Meanwhile, Irvine should be boosted by the return of Sebastien Pocognoli from a hamstring injury ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s home clash with Arsenal.
The Baggies, who are just three points clear of the relegation places, are 4.55 to win, the Gunners are 1.84 and the draw is 3.26.