Ben Foster’s Euro 2016 hopes have suffered a blow after the West Brom keeper was ruled out until Christmas following an injury setback.
The 32-year-old has been out since March after damaging his cruciate knee ligament and had been expected back next month.
In his absence Burnley’s Tom Heaton and Stoke’s Jack Butland have broken into the England squad, while Southampton’s Fraser Forster is also fighting to return before next year’s tournament in France after his own serious knee injury last season.
West Brom boss Tony Pulis confirmed that, while former Manchester United man Foster is expected to train in two weeks, he is unlikely to play again before December.
He said: “It’ll be Christmas time I think, we’ve got to make sure we’re careful. He had a little setback which pushed him back a little bit. Thank God it wasn’t too bad and he’s up and running again now so fingers crossed he’ll be ready to go before Christmas.
“I think, having spoken to Ben, the most important thing is for him to get fit and start playing for West Brom again and then if the Euros come for him then brilliant. But the most important thing is he’s got to get fit and get back into the team.
“A couple of weeks and he’ll be on the grass, that’ll be a big boost.”
Pulis has not ruled out a loan spell for Foster to boost his fitness after he brought in Anders Lindegaard on a free transfer from Manchester United.
The 31-year-old made his debut in Wednesday’s 3-0 Capital One Cup defeat to Norwich but will return to the bench against Everton on Monday with Boaz Myhill current number one.
Myhill has kept four clean sheets in six Barclays Premier League games and Pulis insisted Lindegaard must wait for his chance in the league.
“I don’t think Boaz has done anything wrong,” he said. “But it was Anders’ first game for ages so I was pleased.”