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Clarke: Odemwingie hard to replace

Steve Clarke admits he will have a major job on his hands to fill Peter Odemwingie's boots if the transfer-seeking striker is granted his wish to join QPR.

Odemwingie is vital to the the West Bromwich Albion head coach's plans and Clarke remains committed to hanging on to the in-form forward beyond this Thursday's closing of the transfer window.

And he accepts that the club could be left weakened if Rangers return with a third and this time acceptable bid.

"We have discussed it……he would be difficult to replace," Clarke said. "That's why I'd rather he stayed. In an ideal world, I would have a replacement lined up.

"He scores vital goals. He got the equaliser last week in a derby game (against Aston Villa)."

The Scot is happy not being part of the decision-making process – presumably he would be if his job title was that of conventional manager – on whether Odemwingie will be fined for the volley of tweets that have got under Albion's skin since they turned down his transfer request.

Rangers have had two bids turned down and their pursuit of a variety of other targets, including Stoke City's Peter Crouch, makes it unclear whether they will be back.

But there is confirmation from The Hawthorns that the player's absence from the squad for Wednesday's Premier League game at Everton is not linked to his desire to move to Loftus Road.

"He has not been left out for disciplinary reasons," Clarke said. "His new-born son has been back in hospital so we gave him another day off. He has not trained for three days.

"I'm not sure there will be a third bid and I expect Peter to be in to do some training).

"I'm sure the other players are disappointed (with developments). That's normal. But everybody has their own character and their own way of doing things.

"Graham Dorrans wanted a transfer but has gone about his work and has played regularly recently. Not every player will try to force a move away like Peter has.

"There's no shift in my stance. I absolutely want him to stay. But Cristiano Ronaldo was not for sale and the bidding went up and up. Whatever happens, my group are too strong to be destabilised by this and we're just looking forward to getting back on track."

Clarke has no intention of trying to ban his squad from using Twitter in the light of Odemwingie's ill-advised comments but believes they should be encouraged to do so responsibly.

As well as reporting a clean bill of health at The Hawthorns except for knee injury victim Zoltan Gera, the head coach has disclosed that there have been no bids for Dorrans.


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