Fitness and finance fears hold up Makukula's Albion arrival

West Bromwich manager Tony Mowbray casts doubt on Benfica striker's move
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Tony Mowbray, the West Bromwich Albion manager, insists a deal to bring the Benfica striker Ariza Makukula to the Hawthorns has not yet been finalised.

Mowbray watched his side set up an FA Cup fourth-round home tie against Burnley with a 2-0 win over League One promotion chasers Peterborough at London Road on Tuesday night. Goals from on-loan Arsenal striker Jay Simpson and Paul Robinson in the first half set the seal on a commanding Albion performance.

Mowbray wants his side to have more firepower in a bid to escape relegation from the Premier League and hopes that Makukula, 27, will help boost their options. However, despite confirming his interest in the player, Mowbray admitted the loan deal was far from done.

"Makukula is coming over but there is a long way to go before anything is sorted," said Mowbray. "Regarding his fitness, he hasn't played for a long time and there's also the financial side of things. Makukula's got a physical presence and I think, at times, our team needs more of that."

Meanwhile, Mowbray made it clear that he would do anything he could to help players leave the Hawthorns if they did not want to play for the club. But any transfer has to be right for Albion.

Defender Marek Cech allegedly told the Slovakian media that he wanted to leave the side, currently bottom of the Premier League after being dropped for the game against Aston Villa last Saturday.

"I haven't seen the report but I'm hearing Marek's been misquoted and his comments lost in translation," said Mowbray. "What I will say is any manager can't keep 20-odd players happy. Marek did very well in the two games he played recently but, in my opinion, Paul Robinson is our left-back and he plays.

"Robbo did exceptionally well against Peterborough and scored a goal. But, to be fair, I haven't got a problem with Marek. I feel for him at times because he was a player that was brought in to compete for a position in a team that another player is holding down. That's football. I can't keep them all happy. I can't play them all. But I respect them. I treat them properly.

"I understand some players as they get on in their careers need to play and if they're not playing then it's time to move on. But it's got to be right for our club. The bottom line is contracts go both ways.

"I can't just let him walk away and us not have a replacement or someone I think can do the job.

"All those things need to be taken into account. But, as I've said, I've got total respect for Marek Cech. He's a good professional and works hard at his job. If he's getting a bit frustrated because he's not playing enough games then he's got to come and see me and we'll sit down and discuss it."

The Peterborough United manager, Darren Ferguson, admits that he was given a wake-up call after they crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of the Baggies.

Albion, struggling at the foot of the Premier League, could face United in the Championship next season if Posh gain promotion and Mowbray's side are relegated. But Ferguson says there is a lot of work to do in the meantime if they are to get anywhere near the standard of Albion's football.

Albion beat Posh in both the FA and Carling Cups last season and Ferguson was unhappy that his side were off the pace again in their third-round replay.

"It is a bit of an eye-opener because we could be playing West Brom in the league next season and there is a lot to do because they were a long way ahead of us," said Ferguson. "That is three times out of four that they have been a lot better than us and it is something we need to address.

"The first goal came out of nothing and it was Premier League class. It knocked us a bit and we were poor for the rest of the first half.

"We got into it a bit in the final five minutes of the first half, but I was just hoping we would reach the interval only one goal down. However, it was not to be and credit to West Bromwich Albion.

"We changed it a bit in the second half and got a bit more of the ball but overall our ball retention was not good and you can't give the ball away to players of Premier League calibre.

"I am disappointed and the players are aware that they have not put in a display in front of a good crowd. We have Walsall at home on Saturday and then MK Dons on Tuesday and we know we have to bounce back."

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