Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Brunt wants Clarke to extend stay

Steve Clarke signed a two-year deal in the summer of 2012
Steve Clarke signed a two-year deal in the summer of 2012

West Brom captain Chris Brunt insists he is keen to see head coach Steve Clarke sign a new contract, despite the limited role he has been playing under him this season.

The Baggies recently revealed they plan to open contract talks with Clarke in the new year.

The 50-year-old was appointed as West Brom boss - his first managerial position - on a two-year deal in the summer of 2012 and under his guidance the club have continued their impressive progress of the last few years.

Clarke led Albion to their to their highest Barclays Premier League finish of eighth last term and ahead of Monday night's clash with midlands rivals Aston Villa at the Hawthorns they lie 11th in the table.

There have been some notable high points this term, Clarke seeing his team beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and hold Chelsea to a draw at Stamford Bridge, where they were denied victory by a controversial late penalty.

For Brunt, though, it has been a frustrating time on a personal level given he has started just three league games this season, including West Brom's last two.

The Northern Ireland international admits it has been difficult watching matches from the bench, but nonetheless has expressed his hope the Scot stays on.

The 28-year-old said on wba.co.uk: "The club has made it clear they are going to speak to him about a new contract in the new year. I for one enjoy working with the gaffer and I'd like that to continue.

"He has taken the club on."

Brunt, who joined West Brom from Sheffield Wednesday in 2007, added: "It's difficult because for nearly 10 years as a pro, I've been a regular wherever I've been.

"This year, I've had time on the sidelines watching the games and it's been frustrating.

"As a footballer, you want to play every game because you think you can add something.

"But you have to respect the head coach's decision.

"He picks a team to go out on a Saturday and win the game.

"This league is mentally and physically challenging so to have extra bodies around the squad is a great thing for the coaching staff to have.

"I want to play every game, but sometimes it's just not possible. Over the last few months, I've experienced that.

"But if you look at the big teams, they have big squads and lots of good players and, if we want to get better, that's what we must aim for.

"We are starting to do that."

Striker Nicolas Anelka could make his return to first-team action in Monday's game.

Anelka, recently sidelined by a groin problem, has missed the last two matches but Clarke has indicated the Frenchman will be available.

Clarke is also not ruling out winger Scott Sinclair (hamstring) being involved for the first time in six games, while Brunt, Gareth McAuley and Boaz Myhill all look set to feature despite withdrawing from their international squads during the break.

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