Belfast Telegraph

Skipper Darren Fletcher close to activating West Brom contract extension

West Brom captain Darren Fletcher is close to triggering a one-year contract extension.

The midfielder will earn an extra 12 months at The Hawthorns in the new year once he plays a certain amount of games.

That is likely to come early in 2017 which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2018 and Albion will also speak to him about his long-term future.

Boss Tony Pulis said: "Darren has a clause in his contract, I believe, where if he plays a certain amount of games he gets an extension.

"I'm not sure how many games he is away from that but I would imagine he will get there before the end of the season and it would be brilliant for the football club because he's a brilliant fella.

"Not just on the pitch but off the pitch, he is a fantastic lad around the dressing room and around the other players.

"As I keep saying, we're trying to put something together that is not just about the first team but is about what is happening below it as well and Darren has been fantastic with the young players."

Fletcher has started 67 straight games for the Baggies since joining from Manchester United in February 2015 but admitted last month his form had dropped earlier this season.

"It happens to us all," Pulis added.

"He is a good lad. Being around him and speaking to him, he's a very grounded lad. He's a very, very ordinary lad who understands how lucky he is."

Fletcher and the Baggies go to Chelsea on Sunday and Pulis believes Stamford Bridge boss Antonio Conte has turned them back into title contenders after last season's 10th placed finish.

He said: "They've got as good a chance as anybody. He's changed the system and it looks as though it's suiting the players.

"Going by results, it has shown it's successful. It's the first time I've managed against Conte so I'm looking forward to it.

"They tell me he's a decent lad so it will be nice to hopefully put on a good performance and have a nice glass of Italian red afterwards."

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