James Morrison
James Morrison has been restricted to four Premier League appearances in 2017-18


  • Scottish international now not expected to return to action until the hectic festive period.
  • Tony Pulis said before the international break that Nacer Chadli was operating some way below full fitness.
  • However, the 28-year-old has since started twice for Belgium in friendlies against Mexico and Japan.

Struggling West Bromwich Albion will remain without James Morrison for at least another month, while beleaguered boss Tony Pulis has admitted that Nacer Chadli is still only operating at 60% fitness ahead of Saturday's (18 November) Premier League encounter with Chelsea.

Long-serving creative midfielder Morrison, sidelined for the start of the season by a knee ligament injury, has missed the last five matches with an achilles tendon issue and was originally expected to be back in contention to face Chelsea.

However, it has now transpired that he underwent a minor operation in Portugal last week having previously been dispatched to Holland to visit a specialist.

West Brom, winners of just two of their last 20 top-flight matches, face Stoke City, Everton, Arsenal and West Ham United during the Christmas period.

"We wanted to give it a couple of weeks to see it would settle," director of performance Mark Gillett told the club's official website.

"Though he made some progress we thought the time was right to get him ready for the Christmas period.

"His achilles has been grumbling and the international break provided us with the opportunity to address the issue. The procedure was done by a Dutch surgeon in Portugal last Thursday and we are pleased with the results. James will now be working hard to ensure he is back to full fitness as soon as possible."

Versatile winger Chadli, who became West Brom's record signing after joining from Tottenham Hotspur in a reported £13m ($17.1m) deal in August 2016, has made just three appearances for the Baggies so far this term and did not get off the bench for recent defeats to Manchester City and Huddersfield Town after making his first league starts of the season against Leicester City and Southampton.

He netted his sixth goal in navy blue and white stripes in that former contest at the King Power Stadium with a stunning free-kick that was later cancelled out by an effort from Riyad Mahrez.

Addressing Chadli's recent demotion before the international break, Pulis claimed that the 28-year-old, who played all but six minutes of Belgium's recently friendly double-header against Mexico and Japan, was still not fully match fit after a controversial summer in which he was omitted from the squad for a pre-season tour of Austria after a row with the manager.

He was also heavily linked with a switch to long-term suitors Swansea City during the final weeks of the transfer window.

"I spoke to Chads and he feels 60 per cent, he doesn't feel 100 per cent, and you can understand that," Pulis was quoted as saying by the Express & Star.

"He has missed the pre-season, he's had all that speculation with Swansea that affected him during the first couple of weeks of the season, and there are people like that who have had injuries.

"The two games that he's played in he's not felt sharp. Speaking to him, he feels a little bit better and a little bit stronger and he's done extra work with the fitness coaches."

West Brom will be without Craig Dawson for the visit of Antonio Conte's Chelsea to The Hawthorns this weekend, with the defender suffering a serious thigh muscle bleed and a torn knee capsule against Southampton that did not require surgery but is expected to keep him sidelined for up to eight weeks.

However, former Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig winger Oliver Burke is finally ready to make an impact after seeing his start to life at West Brom severely hampered by a lingering hamstring problem.