Hello and welcome to today's webchat, who's going to start us off?
by Birmingham Mail2/20/2013 11:59:14 AM
Chris, any further developments on free agents that were being looked at? It all seems to have gone very quiet since the Liverpool game
by The_Van2/20/2013 12:00:26 PM
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:01:06 PM
Hi Chris, how is it going at the moment with PO? Do you think he will be involved saturday?
by Baggie Boy2/20/2013 12:01:20 PM
The_van No, Clarke said before Liverpool game the squad was it was now - no first-teamers would be leaving (only kids maybe) and no one would be coming in
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:02:24 PM
Hi Chris, do you think if we finish in the top 10, that JP will look to offer SC a longer contract? as he only signed a 2 year deal?
by Tipton Throstle2/20/2013 12:02:50 PM
Baggie Boy, There is a piece going in tomorrow's Birmingham Mail with Steve Clarke talking about this whole situation and whether PO will play any part on Saturday. He'll be in the squad...but whether he makes the final 18?
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:02:55 PM
Hi Chris; Do you think we will see any of the U21 squad getting more game time as we approach the end of the season and that the squad is thin in places
by Garry2/20/2013 12:03:12 PM
Also, how do you think the fans will take to PO if he plays?
by Tipton Throstle2/20/2013 12:03:37 PM
I think 55 points is a realistic target this season. Do you agree?
by colinbaggie2/20/2013 12:04:40 PM
Tipton Throstle, I don't think it'll be as cut-and-dried as a top 10 finish. Club will want to see notable signs of progress (which there has been so far). Ultimately contracts merely dictate the amount of compensation Albion would get if someone came in for him...and how much they'd have to pay out if sacked. But, yes, it would make sense to extend his deal this summer by at least a year. Whether they will, I don't know... no rush to in any case
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:05:52 PM
Garry, hard to see who could step in at this stage of season. Nabi maybe? But there are so many forward players. Would need a dramatic run of injuries for that to happen
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:06:57 PM
Tipton Throstle. Hard to guess. Some might boo, some might applaud. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a general feeling of apathy towards him. Next moment for him will be a good or bad moment (ie a goal/assist or a poor performance) to see how crowd shifts
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:08:08 PM
colinbaggie. I think anywhere north of 50 would be a decent return at this stage.
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:08:31 PM
Given that some of the squad wants out (PO and GD), Some of the squad are getting little game time (BM, JT, MAF, MR), and a number of players are out of contract or "getting on a bit" - do you think there will be wholesale changes to the squad come the summer?
by Garry2/20/2013 12:08:44 PM
Do you think Lukaku still wants to stay next year?
by colinbaggie2/20/2013 12:09:43 PM
Garry, yes I do. I expect Albion to extend McAuley's contract (or try to) by an extra year but, realistically, they are looking at a new Right back, maybe a new left-back (depends on Popov), plus have question marks over Rosenberg, Lukaku, Dorrans, Tamas and Myhill. Thomas/Fortuné are out of contract and I will be staggered if someone doesn't have a nibble at Morrison or Mulumbu this summer. There was also interest in Long (which never materialised into offers) during January. So the next 6-12 months are huge in that respect
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:11:11 PM
Afternoon Chris, As a reporter do you get annoyed at fellow reporters (i'm thinking mainy national ones) failure to recognise a job well done i.e. the Liverpool game, rather than they always seem to concentrate on the 'failure' of the so called 'bigger' club.
by TorqBaggie2/20/2013 12:12:11 PM
colinbaggie, without question. Lukaku has said several times on the record (since Christmas in fact) that he wants to stay. That won't be the problem. Issue will be on who is Chelsea boss and where they end this season. If they don't make top 4 their own ambitions of signing certain players might be reined in, which could necessitate them needing Lukaku. A lot of ifs and buts on that one to come
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:12:41 PM
what is the situation with MAF? Clarke doesnt seem to play him a lot but gives him praise occasionally in the media and has done well when he has come on for 10-15 minutes. Deal up in the summer, do you think they will offer him 1 year?
by Bagggiiiesss2/20/2013 12:13:59 PM
Afternoon Chis, keep up the good work. I just wondering how good could Isaiah Brown be? The was an article about him in Daily Mail and Arsenal have been linked to him. Also do you think Berahino has a future at the club?
by McVicar42/20/2013 12:14:27 PM
Torqbaggie, I can't say it annoys me if I'm honest. They're writing to a national agenda. And with the exception of the Sun newspaper, most nationals will probably attract greater Liverpool than Albion readership. Liverpool is, ultimately, a bigger club and hence a bigger story. I understand the frustration from a fans' point of view that it misrepresents Albion's achievements but it's usually a newspaper policy rather than a writer being pro-Liverpool/anti Albion (other clubs can apply, obviously)
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:14:31 PM
Bagggieeess, I can't see Fortuné staying. He is simply part of a waiting game. Who would you bring him in for? Long? Lukaku? Until injuries, suspensions or loss of form elsewhere kicks in he will hgave to wait his turn
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:15:26 PM
By the way, Chris what team do you support?
by Bagggiiiesss2/20/2013 12:15:41 PM
McVicar4, Thank you. We ran that story about 4 weeks ago - there is a definite interest from Arsenal. How good he is, is hard to tell as I've not seen every u21 game and even fewer youth games. But those who have seen more of him rate him extremely highly. As for Berahino, SC is a big fan. His injury isn't very straightforward so hard to know when he'll be fit but he has a decent chance of a future at WBA
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:17:13 PM
I think that fortune is good back up and offers us a different style to the other strikers. he seems keen to stay aswell and has never publically moaned about not playing regular. i think we should offer him a 1 year deal. sorry if my question wasnt specific enough but do you think albion would offer him anything?
by Bagggiiiesss2/20/2013 12:17:46 PM
Hi Chris, do you think SC recognises that with the current formation we don't as a club really have wingers who fit that system ideally, i.e. Odemwingie is the best bet but apparently doesn't enjoy playing there and can't track back. Do you think this will see us either (a) change formation long term or (b) focus in the summer on buying wingers who fit better? You've said before you see it as a "problem position". I also accept that this system does suit us in having a 3 of morrison, mulumbu and yacob, without which we look weak.
by Luke Mason2/20/2013 12:20:05 PM
Baggiieesss, I really can't envisage him getting a deal at this stage. I suspect the club will want to evolve and if he can't break into side at the moment, it's hard to imagine how he will next season unless the standard of players coming in during the period deteriorates for whatever reason.
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:20:17 PM
Given what you have said about possible leavers and the increased TV income next year I guess we may see the purse opened a not?
by colinbaggie2/20/2013 12:20:35 PM
When are you going to get in the Vine pre-match to sign my copy of 'In Pastures Green'?
by colinbaggie2/20/2013 12:20:48 PM
Luke Mason, it's a difficult one to call. SC seems flexible to running with 4231/442. As you suggest the first one suits the three central players (CY, YM, JM ) but one, probably Morrison, will inevitably be marginalised to a wide role in a 442. That said, 442 suits Brunt more (and IMO Thomas). So he needs to think about personnel this summer in that respect. The good thing is that both systems CAN work with the players he has. He'll never find the Utopian fix for both formations as Albion simply don't have the resources to bring in such players. But, so far, not so bad. And as for PO not wanting to track back, there are times in everyone's working life where they have to do things they don't enjoy. The response most bosses give to that is: Tough!
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:23:20 PM
by baggyjon2/20/2013 12:24:04 PM
All seems quiet about ground expansion, has this been consigned to room 101 or are there still plans for start at end of season.
by baggyjon2/20/2013 12:24:05 PM
colinbaggie, The noises I'm getting so far are that there won't be a change in policy in terms of signing players. It'll be much the same as it was last 2 summers (which were similar in pattern). However, given there could be a higher turnover of players it would depend on what £££ they bring in from any sales/savings on wages
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:24:35 PM
Well yes you're right but if you say tough, get on with it, and he plays like he did in the first half of the swansea away game, you start to wish you hadn't said tough!
by Luke Mason2/20/2013 12:25:00 PM
colinbaggie, I'm happy to sign it any time. I don't get a chance to frequent Vine before games. Generally working after games but happy to arrange a time/place at your convenience
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:25:27 PM
Hi Chris, do you think the spitting ordeal with Popov, will have an effect whether wba buy him permanently?
by Boing Boing2/20/2013 12:26:01 PM
Evening Chris, will Yassine El Ghannassy return? Also, rumour in the Vine is that you & Steve Clarke went on a dinner date?
by Cilla Black2/20/2013 12:26:46 PM
Luke Mason, I'm with the manager on this. Managers have to be seen to have some form of authority. If PO (or whoever) isn't willing to fulfill that role you find someone who is. I suspect PO was clutching at straws with that statement in any case. It didn't bother him playing in that position at previous clubs and last season. While he might prefer playing up front, his ability to do both is something he should be content with as it gives him greater chance of playing
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:27:16 PM
Boingboing,I think Popov's apologies (which he did of his own accord, without any prompting) have gone a long way to repairing the damage. If he keeps performing well then he stands a good chance of being retained
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:28:09 PM
Thanks Chris. Next Ponners' Bash then.
by colinbaggie2/20/2013 12:28:21 PM
Well I agree, he's far better suited to a wide role than playing as a lone striker. Look at his time at Lille for example.
by Luke Mason2/20/2013 12:28:51 PM
Cilla Black, There will be more from Clarke on El Ghanassy in tomorrow's Bham Mail but I can't see him returning. As for dinner date with Steve Clarke, apologies...that rumour isn't true. I'm working on it. Are you fishing for an invite BTW?
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:29:29 PM
colinbaggie, if invited then I'll happily do so
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:29:46 PM
Many thanks for all your questions today. Enjoy the game on Saturday
by Chris Lepkowski2/20/2013 12:30:25 PM
Thanks for joining us today. Sorry if we didn't get to answer your question. Join us next time and enjoy the match on Saturday.