Boss plans to re­solve McAu­ley’s fu­ture at Hawthorns

Birmingham Post - - SPORT - Foot­ball Writer

DAR­REN Moore will hold con­tract talks with Gareth McAu­ley as soon as the vet­eran de­fender re­turns from in­ter­na­tional duty with North­ern Ire­land.

McAu­ley, who only made nine Pre­mier League ap­pear­ances last sea­son, wants to con­tinue play­ing next sea­son, but is in con­tract limbo at Al­bion.

The 38-year-old left for Cen­tral Amer­ica un­sure whether the club wanted to ex­tend his con­tract, which runs out at the end of June.

Hugely pop­u­lar with fans since join­ing on a free trans­fer seven years ago, McAu­ley has signed one-year ex­ten­sions in re­cent sea­sons.

Much will de­pend on how the trans­fer win­dow pans out as to whether the he will be of­fered an­other one-year deal.

Moore is re­signed to los­ing cen­tre­back Jonny Evans, with Le­ices­ter City, West Ham and Arse­nal all keen to ac­ti­vate his £3 mil­lion re­lease clause. And he might have a job on his hands to keep Craig Daw­son and Ahmed Hegazi, who con­tinue to be linked with top-flight clubs.

Were two cen­tre-backs to leave, Moore would al­most cer­tainly of­fer McAu­ley a new deal as he looks to build a bal­anced squad ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing for pro­mo­tion.

James Mor­ri­son, Clau­dio Ya­cob and Boaz My­hill are also out of con­tract this sum­mer.

McAu­ley headed off on in­ter­na­tional duty with North­ern Ire­land, not know­ing if an ex­tended stay is even an op­tion.

“I’ve not spo­ken to West Brom, or no-one has been in con­tact with me since the end of the sea­son,” he said.

“I don’t know where that sits. I haven’t been told, ‘We want you there or we don’t want you’. I’m not sure what the club is think­ing about me.”

He added: “I want to play next year. Abroad would pos­si­bly in­ter­est me, but it doesn’t have to be some­where warm or any­thing like that, I just want to be play­ing reg­u­lar foot­ball. Hope­fully I’ll have a cou­ple of op­tions to look at.”

He ad­mits he was frus­trated with just 456 min­utes of top-flight ac­tion last term, but added he has no prob­lems with new boss Moore.

“It’s been a dif­fi­cult sea­son – not hav­ing played an aw­ful lot as well and it’s the first time I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced that in my ca­reer.

“I was try­ing my best to get back into the team but the rea­sons I was be­ing given for not be­ing in­cluded didn’t sit very well with me.

“But, in say­ing that, ev­ery­one wants to play and if you are not then you still have to sup­port the boys who are pulling on the shirt. “I am ab­so­lutely fine with Dar­ren Moore – he’s been great since he’s gone in there and put the val­ues back into the club that were miss­ing for a while.” Al­bion striker Salomon Ron­don is also at­tract­ing in­ter­est from the Ham­mers and Cardiff. The Venezue­lan is availa- ble for £16 mil­lion, thanks to a clause in his con­tract fol­low­ing Al­bion’s rel­e­ga­tion.

And West Ham’s in­ter­est comes from new boss Manuel Pel­le­grini, who worked with him at Malaga, while Cardiff have also been heav­ily linked.

How­ever, Ron­don’s wages could be a stum­bling block for the newly-pro­moted Blue­birds.

> Gareth McAu­ley could be of­fered a new deal. Be­low, Dar­ren Moore

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