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RDZ checks squad for AEK after absentee list reaches TWELVE in final stages at Forest

Roberto De Zerbi must plan for Athens after seeing his side beat Forest <i>(Image: Richard Parkes)</i>
Roberto De Zerbi must plan for Athens after seeing his side beat Forest (Image: Richard Parkes)

Albion will today check on their depleted squad as they prepare to travel to Greece.

The Seagulls saw out their 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest with 12 players unavailable by the time they reached the tense final stage of the game.

They were by that stage missing defenders Adam Webster, Igor, Pervis Estupinan and Tariq Lamptey to injury, as well as the versatile Solly March and James Milner.

To that list could be added attacking players Ansu Fati, Julio Enciso and Kaoru Mitoma as well as striker Danny Welbeck.

Mahmoud Dahoud and Lewis Dunk were unavailable for the closing stages of the City Ground game for disciplinary reasons, making a round dozen of absentees.

Speaking after the game, Roberto De Zerbi did not seem hopeful that the latest casualties, Ansu and Lamptey, would be ready to face AEK in Athens on Thursday.

He said: “We play on Thursday in the Europa League but I think we lost both for sure for this game.

“After two (more) days we play in Stamford Bridge, after three days against Brentford and you can imagine how many problems we can see in the next two weeks.”

De Zerbi appeared hopeful in his press conference ahead of the Forest game that Igor could be fit to face AEK.

He also said he would check on Mitoma and Milner early this week.

Both trained with the squad ahead of the Forest trip although it is not clear to what extent.

De Zerbi said on Friday: “James Milner and Mitoma will work with us on Monday, Sunday maybe. But now we are only thinking about Nottingham."

Mahnoud Dahoud looks a certainty to play in Greece given his good recent form and the fact he is one game into a three-game domestic suspension.

If fit, it would seem Igor would partner Dunk in central defence in Athens with Jan Paul van Hecke suspended.

Albion named under-21s centre-back Ben Jackson on the bench at Forest.

When Dunk was sent-off, De Zerbi opted to shift Joel Veltman to centre-back and use Pascal Gross as right-back.

AEK had a stuttering 1-0 win at lowly Giannina yesterday and are third in the table but have doubts over three players, including star forward Levi Garcia.