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Clarke: Odemwingie still has a future

Steve Clarke has assured Peter Odemwingie he still has a part to play at West Bromwich Albion this season.

Peter Odemwingie's future remains unclear
Odemwingie travelled to QPR on transfer deadline day

- Blog: Return of key players vital

West Brom head coach Clarke intends to reintegrate the Nigeria international back into his side over the remainder of the season - following the fall-out over Odemwingie's attempts to force a transfer to Queens Park Rangers.

Odemwingie has been fined around £70,000 for travelling to London on transfer deadline day in an attempt to seal a move to Loftus Road, despite not having permission from Albion chairman Jeremy Peace.

The 31-year-old has not figured in the club's starting line-up since, and sections of the fans at the Hawthorns have protested against Odemwingie returning to the side.

Clarke included Odemwingie in his travelling squad for Monday's 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield, but left him out his final 16-man squad.

But Clarke believes it will be only a matter of time before Odemwingie makes it back into his plans, saying: "Peter makes his contribution and will make a contribution in the season going forward.

"He was in the dressing room (on Monday), he was delighted for his team-mates and was there to support them and help them. It is what being part of a squad is all about."

Odemwingie faces a huge battle in trying to win back his place ahead of team-mates Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku, who were both impressive at Anfield.

They have shared the load as the lone striker for most of the season and Clarke will continue to rotate the duo, adding: "They are a good combination. When they play together they play well but when I have my three midfield players in there it is difficult to play both.

"Sometimes I have to make difficult decisions and in recent weeks Rom, for a 19-year-old, has been carrying a lot of weight up front. So it was nice to give him a breather and the chance to come into the game to do what he did.

"Rom did well but he got the benefit of the hard work of Shane Long, who put in a hell of a shift. He came on when the game was open - we knew Liverpool would come chasing the game and we could pick them off - and fortunately for the first time this year it worked."


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