Albion midfielder Solly March made his competitive return on Monday as the under-23s narrowly lost their first game in six to Leicester City in Premier League 2.
The midfielder, who has been out for more than two months with a groin problem, played 45 minutes in atrocious conditions at the American Express Elite Performance Centre.
March, 25, was on the bench for Albion’s defeat at Everton last Saturday and will hope to feature in this Saturday’s crunch Premier League clash against Aston Villa at the Amex.
“He has had an okay season but there is more to come from him,” said head coach Graham Potter last week. “He would acknowledge that as well. It is not for the want of trying but he just has to take that next step in terms of influencing the game a little bit more. Because he has the ability and the quality.
“The step can come from lots of things. It is not just him as a player it is myself and and how we set up and the organisation of the team.
“It is not solely the player. We all want to see him take the next step because he has that potential.”
Leicester under-23s dominated the early stages and went in front through Josh Eppiah but Albion were the more threatening after the break with Lorent Tolaj, Bojan Radulovic and Warren O’Hora all going close.
March operated as a wing-back on the left with Albion employing three central defenders, but they were under pressure early on against a vibrant Leicester team.
Under-23s head coach Simon Rusk said, “I thought a draw would have been a fair result. With the wind and rain, conditions were difficult and I felt we didn’t cause Leicester enough problems in the first half. The goal came from a mistake. which can happen to anyone but we created a couple of good opportunities in the second half and probably deserved a draw in the end.
“It just didn’t fall for us and their keeper made a couple of really good saves. Fair play to Leicester, they are a good side who made it difficult for us.
“We changed our system and played with three central defenders to suit the personnel we had and I thought it worked well. It was good for Solly March to get 45 minutes under his belt but it was a game of few clear-cut chances and the conditions had a lot to do with that.”
Albion line-up: McGill, O’Hora, Baluta, Roberts, Yapi (Radulovic 74), Crofts, Cochrane, March (Jenks 45), Gwargis, Tolaj (Tsoungui 90), Richards.
Subs not used: Keto, Freestone.