Let's move on from Odemwingie, says Clarke

Steve Clarke will not confirm Peter Odemwingie will leave West Brom but admits: "I've done as much as I can to put up with it."

Peter Odemwingie of West Bromwich Albion stands wi

A long-running saga was reignited this week when the outspoken Nigerian gave an unauthorised interview to a local newspaper re-emphasising his grievances with the club and his desire to leave.

The issue has been the biggest headache of Clarke's first season in charge of Albion, a generally successful campaign which has seen the team in the top half of the Barclays Premier League throughout.

Odemwingie looks destined to move on this summer after relations broke down following his failed bid to force a move to QPR in January and a series of ill-advised Twitter outbursts.

The 31-year-old striker told the Birmingham Mail today he is "90 per cent sure that it's best for me to leave" after underlining his complaints about the club and the supporters who are now on his back.

Clarke has kept Odemwingie involved in the squad despite the ongoing soap opera and said: "I've stuck by him because he's talented.

"He's a talented player and I need as many talented players as I've got in my squad.

"I think over the last four months I've done as much I can to put up with it. The situation will be resolved in the summer and really I hope that's the last time we speak of it because the situation should be resolved in the summer.

"I don't know (if he has to go). I'm the head coach and I'll deal with the players I've got next season but for now, let's try to move on from it."

Clarke again sought to play down suggestions the latest interview was another sensational outburst.

"I didn't think it was 'sensational'," he said. "I just read it quickly before this press conference and I didn't see anything in the article that he hasn't told me over the last few months anyway.

"To be honest over the last four months he hasn't really played for my side. He's been in and around the place but his contribution since January has been very, very little.

"The disappointment for me is that before January, when he was fit and available, I think he played over 70 per cent of the games, produced good performances and scored goals.

"And in the second half of the season I haven't had that player, so that's the disappointing thing for me as a coach."

There has been some suggestion Odemwingie has been unhappy at being played out of position at times but Clarke gave that short shrift.

"He can put down whatever he wants (as the reason)," said the head coach. "When he was playing, when he was in the team and was happy and fit and available before the January episode, his performances didn't show that he was unhappy playing in any position that I asked him to play in."

Clarke's attention now turns to Sunday's trip to struggling Norwich, where he hopes to have captain Chris Brunt back in contention following a knee injury.

Gabriel Tamas is expected to be available despite needing stitches to a head wound in the defeat by Manchester City in midweek while striker Marc-Antoine Fortune serves the final game of a three-match ban.



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