West Brom defender Billy Jones today urged the Baggies to sign up his right-back rival Steven Reid for another season.
Jones is keen for Hawthorns officials to activate a one-year option to keep the experienced Reid, who has suffered an injury-blighted season.
Reid’s contract expires in the summer and injury lay-offs mean he is unlikely to play enough matches to trigger an automatic option, leaving Albion to decide whether to keep him.
But, despite the 32-year-old making just 10 appearances this season, Jones wants him to stay.
“He’s a massive member of the squad,” said Jones, who has deputised in Reid’s absence. “He’s a big team player and a very important part of the dressing room.
“He’s well respected by all the lads. He’s a great character and I think they are all hoping that the club take up the option and he will sign again.
“He’s proven this year and last year that, when he plays, he plays consistently well so I can’t see why the club wouldn’t want to take up the option.
“He’s a proven Premier League player and he’s got that vital experience. He’s a great leader and a great communicator.”
The Baggies have begun a hunt for right-back reinforcements as worries about Reid’s fitness problems persist, with Leeds youngster Sam Byram among those watched by scouts.
West Brom attempted to sign Fulham’s Chris Baird in January while Newcastle’s Danny Simpson has also been the subject of enquiries.
But Jones, who could also find his spot threatened by any new right-back, insists he would welcome the competition. “Whenever a new player comes in who plays your position, it’s a new challenge,” he said.
“Even if we don’t even sign a right-back this year there’s going to be competition. The club are looking to improve the squad.
"I haven’t seen loads and loads of stories, and I imagine there’s stories not just about right-backs, but also midfielders, strikers and others, and you expect that.
“Albion want to move forward as a club, and to move forward you’ve got to sign new players.”