West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray hopes his side’s mini winter break in Spain this week will help his players recover from a spate of niggling injuries and refresh his squad ahead of the vital relegation run-in.
Several of the Albion players have been playing while not fully fit in recent weeks as the snow and ice has made regular training almost impossible. Those recovering from injury have found their rehabilitation hampered as they have been held back from training on the harder, indoor surfaces for fear of them suffering a setback.
However, it isn’t just Albion’s injured who will benefit. The camp will also give a much-needed opportunity for new arrivals Youssouf Mulumbu and Juan Carlos Menseguez to bed into the squad.
French midfielder Mulumbu and Argentinian winger Menseguez joined on loan during the transfer window but their integration into the Albion ranks has been disrupted because of the weather.
Mowbray is hoping both will return from Spain as fully fledged members of the squad and while he has emphasised the need for patience with both his new men, they will need to be ready if called upon and the camp will be crucial in that respect.
“All they have seen is snow from the moment they have walked in and they haven’t been able to train on grass,” Mowbray said.
“We have been pottering around and some have gone into the indoor dome, while others have been on the treadmills and doing strengthening work in the gym.
“It is not ideal for those boys at the moment because they haven’t been able to get buried into the team. They have had no full days out on the grass to get training in a proper training session or in an 11 versus 11, working on specifics. They have been training in very small areas on grass if we have had any grass at all.
“It is probably frustrating for them as well, particularly the South American who hasn’t seen much snow and yet all he has seen is snow since he has been here.”
One thing Mowbray will be keen to do while they are away is make sure his side put the 3-2 defeat to Newcastle behind them and he believes the only way to finally do that is by beating Fulham this Sunday.
“If we had won against Newcastle we would have been out of the bottom three and looking upwards at Fulham away,” he said.
“We would be thinking if we could go there and get a win we would be out of the top ten. So it is important not to let one result cloud everything. What we do need to do is try and win a game away from home and try to put this Newcastle result out of our minds by winning at Fulham.
“We have a really tough month coming up with three away games and then Arsenal at home to compound that.
‘‘It is not an easy run of games and yet we are due to win on the road again pretty soon and that will only be achieved by hard work and organisation. The good thing is that we have started to score goals now with two at home again against Newcastle and at Hull, and three against Middlesbrough. The goals have started to go in.
“We have that department better than it was earlier in the season. Once we can get some fitness into the defenders, and get Jonas Olsson back, plus Leon Barnett and Abdoulaye Meite training regularly, hopefully we will get that department sorted as well and results will come.”