Darren Moore glad his battle-weary West Brom side will enjoy a break
Darren Moore is looking forward to the international break this time around – despite his Baggies side being on red hot form.
Last time the Championship schedule stopped, Albion’s coaching staff believed the break had come at the worst possible time, just as they were starting to get into their groove with a comfortable home win over Stoke.
Their first game back was a poor performance at St Andrew’s but even though his side is playing well at the moment, Moore is welcoming the break this time.
He wants his battle-weary squad to use the time to recover, and is expecting Matt Phillips and Bakary Sako to be fit and available after a fortnight of fitness work.
“I am pleased because it gives the opportunity to one or two to lick their wounds,” he said. “It gives the opportunity to one or two on the treatment table to try and get them back.
"And it gives the one on the fringes a bit more fitness work to get them back.
“It's certainly a welcome break for us but a time to reflect on all aspects, team shape, in possession, out of possession, and touch base on those aspects.”
The two weeks off will give Phillips time to recover from the muscle strain he picked up in the 2-0 win over Millwall.
Tyrone Mears has been deputising since then, but after four games in the space of 12 days, the 35-year-old struggled with fatigue in the second half of Saturday’s win over Reading.
New signing Bakary Sako is also expected to be available after the international break as he used the time to get up to speed following his arrival.
Sako has been without a club since the summer, and even though he was eligible for the fixtures with Sheffield Wednesday and Reading last week, Moore decided he wasn’t yet ready.
However, the 30-year-old former Wolves winger is expected to be raring to go in time for the trip to Wigan Athletic a week on Saturday.
James Morrison, who has been rediscovering his fitness with the under-23s recently, will also be available.
Some of Albion’s more experienced heads like Gareth Barry and Chris Brunt will also welcome the break, while Moore hopes ever-presents like Jake Livermore and Jay Rodriguez will get well-earned rests.