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Clarke hails Anelka influence

West Brom manager Steve Clarke says Nicolas Anelka has become a popular member of their squad since joining the club.

Last Updated: 15/08/13 at 20:50 Post Comment   

Nicolas Anelka: Has scored seven goals during pre-season

Nicolas Anelka: Has scored seven goals during pre-season

Clarke signed Anelka on a free transfer in July and the 34-year-old has scored seven goals during the Baggies' pre-season campaign.

Anelka has been labelled 'Le Sulk' in the past, with questions being raised about his temperament, but Clarke was full of praise for the Frenchman.

"There is no downside with Nicolas," said Clarke. "That ('Le Sulk') is an image that is portrayed in the press, but I find him to be a very engaging character, a very good person and he has been great in the group here.

"He has come in and settled well. He is already a favourite among the players."

As well as Anelka, Clarke is hoping for goals this term from Matej Vydra, who joined West Brom on a season-long loan from Udinese.

Vydra scored 22 times in the Championship last season while on loan at Watford and was named the division's player of the year.

"He looks like a natural finisher," said Clarke. "We hope, with the players he will have around him here, that he can get the same number of chances in the Premier League.

"I think when he gets the chances, he will take them."

One striker unlikely to be getting first-team action for West Brom any time soon is Peter Odemwingie.

The Nigerian failed to secure a move to QPR in January despite turning up at Loftus Road on transfer deadline day, and he has been training away from the senior Baggies squad this summer.

Sky souces understand that Dubai outfit Al Nasr were keen on him but have now ended their interest, and asked if he thought Odemwingie would soon be departing Albion, Clarke said: "I don't know. The situation with Peter is between Peter and the club at the moment.

"He hasn't trained with me at all this pre-season and I think that is a situation that will resolve itself in the next couple of weeks.

"He is not with the squad and if something was to change between now and the start of September and he was still here, that is an issue we would have to deal with at that time.

"Peter has made it clear that he wants to leave West Bromwich Albion and I think that is the situation we are at just now.

"I've asked the club to deal with the situation. It is an issue between the club and Peter. They have to resolve the issue, not me."

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