Valerien Ismael has revealed that an ‘internal issue’ was the reason that Sam Johnstone was left out of the West Brom defeat to his former club Preston on Wednesday night.
Johnstone had completed a three-game ban over the weekend as Albion beat Peterborough, and he was fully expected to replace David Button and be restored to the starting XI for the meeting with North End, but when the team news dropped he was nowhere to be seen.
It’s understood that the absence wasn’t related to transfer speculation, or the emergence of a fresh injury. Instead, as Ismael explained, it was an ‘internal’ matter which means he won’t be involved at Millwall either.
Ismael did, though, indicate that he was planning on reintroducing Johnstone to the squad for the trip to Sheffield United at the beginning of February.
“We had a matter, an issue in the squad and have solved the problem,” he said. “He was not in the squad tonight and he will not be in the squad on Saturday but after that he will be involved. It will stay internal.
“As I said it’s no excuse [Johnstone’s omission] for us. We cannot afford to find excuses to drop into victim mood. Dike’s injury. We have no excuses for that performance, we are professional, we meant to put in a performance.
“We have standards we expect to see and tonight we didn’t put in the performances.”