Vladimir Ivic faces some tough decisions on team selection ahead of a trip to face Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, with a number of his squad members returning from international duty.

Players like Ismaila Sarr and William Troost-Ekong took part in matches held in Africa, Francisco Sierralta travelled to South America, while several others were involved in games closer to home, including both Ken Sema, Craig Cathcart and Ben Wilmot.

The head coach had not been able to practise with his full defensive complement until Thursday, giving him just two days to assess some of his players’ fitness and levels of fatigue, with some international sides playing as many as three games over the international break.

“I wanted to [work on defending] but I couldn’t,” said Ivic. “We know that four of our central defenders were out, and our left back, with the national team, we speak about Wilmot, we speak about Cathcart, we speak about Ekong, we speak about Sema. Their first day will be today [Thursday] to work with the team.

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“It’s not easy for no one. Other teams have players in international teams. I don’t know from where they are travelling but normally when you have players who travel from Africa or South America. It’s not easy to come back today into the practice immediately because they need to adapt, they need to sleep.

“It’s a normal process. I hope they will be ready for the game. We have to practice with them tomorrow. We have these two days to prepare the team for the next game and we will do our best that we can to prepare them to be ready to play and to win the game.”

Helping Ivic with his team selection is the decision by Championship clubs to increase the number of substitutes permitted to be made by each team.

The head coach will now be permitted to make five substitutions and can name nine players on the bench, giving him greater opportunity to rest his jet-lagged players. The Serbian said it was a good decision for all in the league.

“I believe that it’s good for everyone, not just for me,” he said.

“The most important thing is to protect the players, we know that we play every three days and when you have options to change five players and not three, it gives more rest for some of them, and protects them from the injuries and I support it.”

The extra substitute positions will also give younger players hoping to impress Ivic more opportunities to get first team experience.

The under 23s faced the senior team in a friendly game last weekend and the head coach said some of them will get more chances to play this season, they simply need to make the most of the opportunities and prove that they deserve them.

“We have three or four sometimes five players from under 23 who complete our roster,” said Ivic.

“After this game which we played one week ago, I have a clear picture about their quality and if they can help us or not and I support young players, I like to work with young players and normally it depends on them if they can play or not. If they can show me, then it will be my pleasure to have them play.”