Steve Clarke is hopeful new sporting and technical director Richard Garlick will be successful in his attempts to keep key players at West Bromwich Albion beyond the end of the season.
Albion head coach Clarke is banking on Dan Ashworth’s replacement at the Hawthorns to deliver new contracts for Gareth McAuley, Youssouf Mulumbu and Shane Long.
Garlick has been in negotiations for several weeks with representatives of the trio, who have been key performers this season, and Clarke admits the club are still awaiting a successful conclusion on all three fronts.
All of them remain under contract for another season at the club, but Clarke wants their long-term futures secured and said: “I have to be really honest. One is progressing well, one is progressing and one is not moving very far at the moment.
“But people can work out themselves which one is which, because I have to be careful what I say. It’s not my department. My job is to coach the players I have got.
“I would like to think they’ll be resolved. They are three key players for the squad who still have a lot to offer. I would like to think that, sooner or later, they will be done.”
Long has attracted interest from Sevilla and Liverpool this season and the Republic of Ireland international appears to be the most difficult situation facing the club this summer. Garlick also has decisions to make on several out-of-contract players, including Zoltan Gera, who is sidelined until next season with a cruciate ligament injury.
Gera, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jerome Thomas are out of contract in the summer, while defender Steven Reid has an option in the club’s favour for next season.
“Nobody’s future will be decided on the final six games. I don’t think we should talk about players’ contracts, but Steven’s future won’t be decided on the final six games,” said Clarke.
“It will be decided on what he’s done for the club previously and how we see the club going forward. What Zoltan’s doing now and where he is just now won’t have any bearing on the decision. It won’t for any of the players.”