Recent signings Joleon Lescott, Georgios Samaras, Silvestre Valera and Sebastian Blanco are yet to make their Baggies debuts due to fitness setbacks, but the Scot could be forced to throw them in at the deep end on Saturday.
"They are getting closer to where they would like to be, but the fact is we can't just wait before we expose these lads to first-team football," Sky Sports News quotes him as saying.
"We will definitely have to bring players back before they are at the levels they need to be. That's the way things are, we're not really going to have much choice as far as that's concerned."
Irvine served as Everton youth coach between 2011 and 2014 before leaving to join the Baggies as first-team manager.