West Brom manager Carlos Corberan is now facing yet another dilemma at the Hawthorns, with Josh Maja set to miss at least two months.
Maja came on as a second-half substitute at Ashton Gate on Saturday [16 September] but was unable to help Albion break through in a goalless draw.
The Nigeria international was embroiled in a major controversy late in the game when he was pushed to the ground inside the box by Kai Naismith, but no penalty was awarded.
Following the game, the Baggies summer signing was seen with a leg brace (16 September).
On September 18, Birmingham Live reported that it is hoped that Corberan will provide a definitive update on Maja’s position after he required assistance leaving the pitch at the weekend.
Corberan is likely to address the situation during Tuesday’s press conference, although the degree of his injury remains unknown ahead of Wednesday’s (20 September) match against Watford and beyond.
With Daryl Dike not expected to return from his long injury lay-off until at least December, West Brom only have Brandon Thomas-Asante and Maja as their specialist strikers. However, the club have now confirmed [19 September] that Maja will be out for eight weeks in another new blow at The Hawthorns. Ankle injuries are incredibly hard to recover quickly from and the way Maja was felled by Naismith’s tackle at the weekend certainly shows a player who could possibly be out for a while.
In a review of the game for the Express & Star [18 September], journalist Ollie Westbury said: “Arguably Baggies could have had a penalty when Maja was clattered in the final minute of stoppage time, but it was not a decision [Carlos] Corberan felt particularly strongly about.
“More concerning for Albion would be the injury Maja picked up from the challenge, it saw him hobble off at full-time assisted by WBA medical staff.
“With the forward only just getting up to speed fitness-wise and impressing so much at the weekend, it would be a big blow to lose him for a considerable period of time.”
Indeed, Maja was signed by Corberan to significantly bolster their attacking numbers after his tremendous exploits for Bordeaux, registering 16 goals and six assists in 38 Ligue 2 appearances and the Nigerian international looked set to be the answer to West Brom’s goalscoring issues.
Corberan is now in a similar situation to last season’s injury crisis at the Hawthorns.
Maja has yet to start a Championship match for Albion since joining in the summer, with all five of his outings coming off the bench.
Despite playing only 101 minutes for the Baggies, the 24-year-old’s skill has been evident at times, and with Thomas-Asante struggling to score consistently, who will Corberan turn to for goals?
Maja’s injury may now have a negative impact on their early Championship playoff statement, as they presently lie 13th in the table.
Corberan has addressed some of his selection decisions against Bristol City in other West Brom news.