Belfast Telegraph

McAuley targets top 10 spot for WBA to mark new deal

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley is determined to mark his new contract at West Brom by helping to establish the Baggies as a top 10 club in the Premier League.

The 36-year-old has signed a 12-month extension which will keep him at the Hawthorns until 2017.

And the way he is playing, there is every chance McAuley could earn another deal this time next year.

The former Coleraine ace joined Albion in 2011 and has enjoyed his spell at the club, making 171 appearances and scoring 10 goals, establishing himself as a firm favourite with the fans.

McAuley had no doubts whatsoever that he wanted to stay and is keen to move WBA forward.

"When you're settled somewhere and you enjoy it, and you enjoy the football and the people you work with, it's an easy decision to make," said McAuley.

"Speaking to the club and the plans they have moving forward, hopefully we can step on.

"Since I've been here it's always been about progression. We staggered a little bit for a couple of years, but I think this season we've progressed again and hopefully with a few additions we can establish ourselves as a top 10 club."

McAuley's defensive partner Jonas Olsson, 33, has also signed a one-year contract. He labelled the Northern Ireland man as the "fittest guy in the squad".

Come the end of this campaign, McAuley will be preparing for the Euro 2016 finals with his country. Before then he is focused on finishing the season on a high with the 14th-placed Baggies, starting tomorrow at home to Watford, who should have Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart in their line-up.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland coach Stephen Robinson has agreed an extension to his contract with Motherwell, where he is assistant manager.

Robinson's new deal takes him through to May 2017.

The 41-year-old, who joined the Motherwell backroom staff in February 2015, said: "I'm delighted to have signed this new deal. There have been some challenges, but it's a pleasure to work for the club."

Belfast Telegraph


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