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West Brom play hardball

West Bromwich Albion will continue to play hard-ball with Championship form team Millwall over the long-term future of striker Chris Wood.

• Blog: Money isn't everything

The on-loan New Zealand international has lit up The New Den with six goals in his last six appearances, the latest of them a headed winner at home to Leeds on Sunday.

An interim deal has since been done, with his stay in South London extended by a further month until the start of January.

But Millwall's hopes of eventually securing a permanent transfer for the 20-year-old depend on whether they can raise the bidding sufficiently to tempt Albion to part with a player who doesn't need to be sold.

Hawthorns head coach Steve Clarke has already warned: "They will have to have deep pockets. It isn't easy to buy goalscorers for the Championship."

Wood has been the star turn as Millwall have climbed the table rapidly by going ten matches without defeat and chairman John Berylson said: "We'll try to sign him.

"Chris is someone we've known about for years. West Brom will have to make a decision as to whether they want to sell him or not – and set a price. Hopefully, we can meet in the middle. We'll see what happens.

"Everybody knows I've always wanted us to be strong up front. He'd be great to have and it's always something I'm thinking about."

The fact that Wood's contract is due to expire next summer suggests Albion haven't seen him as one of their main options up front. But they haven't ruled out the possibility of offering him an extension.

They sold another fringe member of their strike force, Simon Cox, to Nottingham Forest in the summer for a reported £2m and are waiting to see whether Chelsea, under new management, invoke the recall clause they have on Romelu Lukaku.

Wood, the youngest member of the Kiwi squad who went to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, has scored only twice for Albion in 27 appearances since joining their academy in 2008, although 21 of those games have been as a substitute.


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