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Defensive cover is a priority for Clarke

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West Brom will target defensive cover before the end of the summer transfer window – but highly-rated youngster James Hurst is on standby to fill in at left-back.

West Brom will target defensive cover before the end of the summer transfer window – but highly-rated youngster James Hurst is on standby to fill in at left-back.

They are keen to increase defence options with a deputy to first-choice left-back Liam Ridgewell a priority for boss Steve Clarke.

The Hawthorns head coach is counting on Hurst, and Billy Jones to step in if Albion cannot land targets.

"That's one of the reasons I've been looking at James in the left-back position, because you need to have other options," said Clarke.

Albion still hope to add defensive cover to complement previous summer signings Ben Foster, Yassine El Ghanassy, Claudio Yacob and Markus Rosenberg.

They will not take Cristian Zapata after the Colombian defender signed for AC Milan from Villarreal.

Albion expressed an interest in the left-back-cum-centre-half but he agreed to move to Italy.

Other defenders monitored by Albion this summer include Bram Nuytinck, of NEC Nijmegen, and Wolfsburg's Alexander Madlung.

They hope to persuade key defender Jonas Olsson to sign an extension to his contract, which is due to expire next summer.

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