Pete can still be a star for Bag­gies

Midweek Sport - - SPORTS - By SEAN RAFTER By IAN WIN­ROW

WEST BROM boss Steve Clarke in­sists Peter Odemwingie still has a vi­tal part to play this sea­son.

Hav­ing trav­elled with the squad to An­field on Mon­day night, the Nige­rian watched the Bag­gies’ sur­prise 2-0 win over Liver­pool from the stands

Clarke said the 31-yearold, who was dis­ci­plined by the club af­ter try­ing to force a dead­line-day move to QPR by driv­ing to Lof­tus Road, was in­volved with the team in the pre-match build-up and hopes he can soon re­turn in a play­ing ca­pac­ity.

Clarke had sug­gested prior to the Liver­pool match that Odemwingie might be in­volved for the first time since Jan­uary 19, but in­sisted there was noth­ing sin­is­ter in his even­tual de­ci­sion to leave him out.

“It wasn’t an ad­di­tional pun­ish­ment and he was in­volved, that’s why he was there,” said the Bag­gies boss.

“He was in the dress­ing room. He was de­lighted for his team-mates and was there to sup­port them and help them.

“That’s what be­ing part of a squad is all about.

Lux­ury

“Peter will make a con­tri­bu­tion in the sea­son go­ing for­ward.”

West Brom spent most of the match on the back foot and were lucky to still be in the game with 10 min­utes to go af­ter goal­keeper Ben Fos­ter saved Steven Ger­rard’s penalty.

Gareth McAu­ley’s header and Romelu Lukaku’s 90th-minute strike snatched vic­tory – but Clarke praised his mid­field for the win.

“It’s the first time in a num­ber of weeks I’ve had the lux­ury of be­ing able to pick Yous­souf Mu­lumbu, Clau­dio Ya­cob and James Mor­ri­son in the same mid­field,” he said.

“When they’re to­gether and ev­ery­one is do­ing their jobs prop­erly we’re a good team and de­serve to be in the top eight.

“When Shane Long and Lukaku play to­gether up front, they play well – but when I have my three mid­field­ers in there it’s dif­fi­cult to play both.

“In re­cent weeks, Lukaku has been car­ry­ing a lot of weight up front so it was nice to give him a breather. He came on when Liver­pool were chas­ing the game and we could pick them off.”

Bur­den

QPR “lost their minds” when they shelled out megabucks for Chris Samba.

That’s the view of one of the direc­tors who sold the de­fender.

Rangers paid out £12.5mil­lion to trig­ger the de­fender’s re­lease fee from Rus­sian club Anzhi and are re­ported to have handed Samba a con­tract worth £100,000 a week.

The move for Samba was the most eye-catch­ing Jan­uary swoop by the Pre­mier League’s bot­tom club and led to crit­i­cism they were tak­ing a big gam­ble to avoid the drop.

And Anzhi di­rec­tor Ger­man Tkachenko (left) ad­mits he couldn’t be­lieve the amount R’s were pre­pared to pay for the player.

He said: “At QPR he will earn al­most as much as he did at Anzhi.

“In my view, QPR have lost their minds.

“When they agreed to pay his re­lease fee, we wept. Samba wept.

“Ev­ery­body says that he ran away from the club, but that’s not true.

“He didn’t put any pres­sure on us un­til we re­ceived an of­fer from QPR for £12.5m, the amount re­quired by his con­tract.”

Samba’s

deal

has

CRY­ING GAME: Samba wept when QPR trig­gered his buy-out clause and he left Rus­sia to link up with

Harry Red­knapp

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