Roberto Di Matteo feels Peter Odemwingie is struggling for fitness due to the lack of a summer break and does not expect the striker to feature in West Brom's derby with Wolves.
Odemwingie has impressed since joining the Baggies from Lokomotiv Moscow in August and has scored six goals in 12 Premier League appearances.
However, he missed a month earlier in the campaign with a knee injury and is now likely to sit out Sunday's derby with Wolves due to a calf strain.
The Nigerian played at the World Cup, having started the Russian season with Lokomotiv in March, and Di Matteo revealed West Brom are trying to keep Odemwingie as fit as possible.
Di Matteo said: "Peter hasn't had a break and you can see a lot of players involved in the World Cup are having problems at this stage of the season.
"It was expected and we know it's something we have to deal with because that is the reality.
"Peter has played in the World Cup and the Russian season is different because they play through the summer as well.
"I think he had eight or nine days off before he joined up with us. We just have to do our best to keep him fit for as long as possible."
Di Matteo said: "The trouble is, once you get one injury, you start compensating for it - and then get another injury.
"His knee has cleared up but now he has the calf strain that needs time to heal.
"He hasn't been involved with us this week, and it's now Friday, so it is very doubtful he'll be ready for Sunday."
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