Steve Clarke already on the hunt for West Bromwich Albion reinforcements

 

Steve Clarke has admitted West Brom could lose several players from the current squad this summer - and the head coach is already scouting Europe for possible replacements.

Clarke, whose side welcome Sunderland tomorrow, concedes there could be up to six changes during the close season.

He recognises that the 'not for sale' stance adopted by him during January will be harder to implement during the next transfer window.

Winger Jerome Thomas and striker Marc-Antoine Fortune are out of contract in June while frontman Roman Lukaku's season long loan will expire.

But in addition Albion could face further offers for the likes of striker Peter Odemwingie and defender Jonas Olsson after rejecting bids from QPR last month.

Clarke said: "The club always tend to have a number of players who are on short-term or loan contracts. At the end of the season there is a possibility there will be three, four, five or six changes.

"We've had a really good season and maybe some other, bigger clubs will show an interest in some of the players we've got.

"I would like to be able to take the same stance (not for sale) but the summer window is slightly different to the January window.

"It's a little bit longer, there's a little bit more time for us to have targets to go for and for other clubs to come in and try to take some of ours.

"Our job is to make sure that we have a number of targets ready to come in as and when we need to chase those targets."

Clarke has used the 12-day break from action since the win at Liverpool to eye up potential targets.

He said: "I went to another European country and watched a couple of matches.

"I went to watch a couple of games to broaden my knowledge of the players that are available and are possible targets for next season.

"Myself and my coaching staff have been out across Europe over the last three or four weeks looking at potential targets for next season.

"I'm not going to give too much away but we saw some good games and a lot of good players. The club is well-organised, the scouting department is good.

"It's good for me that I can follow up recommendations from a really good scouting department that have proved over the years they can find really good players."

Clarke is looking for Albion to kick-start their season back into top gear after the win at Anfield halted a sequence of five defeats in six games.

He said: "The result at Liverpool was the result we needed. We had a negative run of results which stretched into about six weeks.

"For a team used to winning during the first half of the season, it was hard to take.

"But we are hoping the Anfield result is the one that kickstarts the final third of the season and we go onto achieve good things for the club."

Clarke met some Baggies fans at a forum last night and admits some of them will find it difficult to welcome back Odemwingie after his Twitter rants against the club and travelling to Loftus Road without permission on deadline day.

But he is confident a "strong" dressing room will ensure there is no festering problem after his return to the squad.

Clarke said: "I understand some fans will find it difficult to forgive Peter for what he did.

"But if he is selected and part of the team, all we ask is for the fans to support the team and he has got a big contribution to make. His ability is not in question.

"In terms of the dressing room, there is no problem with Peter. The players are strong characters and know what is required.

"In every season there will be ups and downs and the strength of your dressing room is very important and our dressing room is strong enough to deal with the ups and downs."

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