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Gareth McAuley has faith West Brom will replace Darren Fletcher

West Bromwich Albion | Published:

'Disappointed' Gareth McAuley is confident Albion will find a replacement for departed skipper Darren Fletcher.

Gareth McAuley

The 37-year-old, who's confident he'll be fit in time for pre-season after aggravating a thigh injury on international duty, admitted Fletcher was an important player for the Baggies.

But he's sure Albion's recruitment team will be able to plug the gap in central midfield.

“Fletch was a big, big player for us on and off the pitch," said McAuley.

“He was our captain and I was a little disappointed he has moved on but people come and go in football all the time.

“I am sure the club will work hard to try and find a suitable replacement.”

McAuley was forced off in the 25th minute of Northern Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan earlier this month with a recurrence of the thigh injury he picked up towards the end of last season.

The Baggies return for pre-season on Monday, July 3, but their first confirmed friendly isn’t until July 12, when they play Czech champions Slavia Prague in Austria.

Albion’s medical team had expected to lose McAuley for a part of pre-season but were confident he would be fit in time for the start of the Premier League in August.

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But the defender himself insists he will be able to join up with the squad for training next month, and the former Ipswich man keen to step up his recovery.

“I had a slight niggle in my thigh and I had a slight recurrence with it when I tried to play against Azerbaijan,” said McAuley. “But it is settling down okay.

"In a couple of weeks I will be able to do some sprint stuff and to get ready for pre-season.

"Hopefully things will have settled down by then and I will back to normal and fit and strong.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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