West Brom star makes contract plea

bruntChris Brunt is hoping in-form West Brom team-mate Gareth McAuley signs a new contract soon.

The Baggies have begun negotiations with the 33-year-old, whose current deal at the Hawthorns runs out in the summer, about staying on after an impressive campaign in the Premier League.

Club captain Brunt has described the centre-back’s influence on Steve Clarke’s side as “massive” and hopes McAuley, who had never played in the top flight until he was 31, will agree a new contract soon.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him as a lad, or of his performances on the pitch,” said Brunt. “He’s a good friend of mine as well so I would love him to stay, and hopefully the club will sort it out.

“He’s been massive for us. From day one, since he stepped into the team, he has been our most consistent player. And that’s coming from someone who had never played in the Premier League until he was 31.”

The Northern Ireland international added: “I had known him for a long time and I knew he was a good defender. But when it came to the Premier League it was as unknown for me as it was for everybody else, and probably to him as well.

“But he has stepped up and been fantastic for us.”

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