Odemwingie won't distract us - Clarke
Published 08/02/2013 | 17:27
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke insists the return of Peter Odemwingie will not have a destabilising effect on the rest of the squad.
Clarke was unaware of an alleged bust-up between Odemwingie and right-back Steven Reid but believes his side are professional enough to deal with any tension in a positive manner. Albion released a statement on Friday afternoon confirming the Nigerian international had been disciplined and had apologised for his recent actions.
The 31-year-old issued a series of Twitter rants against the club after a transfer request was rejected. He then memorably turned up at Loftus Road without permission on transfer deadline day only to be left in the cold as his planned move to QPR collapsed.
Clarke said: "I don't think you can say everything is back to normal because what happened, the whole episode, is something that didn't need to happen. (But) I'm really pleased the club have come out with this statement because it gives me the chance as a head coach to move on.
"That's what myself and the players need to do. We need to move on and concentrate on the football. I think it is important you try and keep your squad together. That's what I've tried to do."
But Clarke admitted there may be some issues to resolve over time. "It is difficult to comment on whether there is any hostility between individual members of the squad. They are in a different dressing room from me," he said.
"Will Odemwingie's return have a destabilising effect? No it won't. I'm convinced of that. I couldn't deal with the matter until now. There was no resolution. Now there is a resolution we can move forward as a group of players. That is important."
"I'm sure some of them will be happy the matter is resolved. In fact I'm hoping most, if not all of them, are happy the matter has been resolved and we can move on as a group of players."
Clarke confirmed that left-back Goran Popov had also been disciplined for spitting in the direction of Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker during last weekend's game. The Macedonia international will have to serve a three-match ban - starting with the visit to Liverpool.
Clarke said: "He has been disciplined, he has apologised to everyone. I've spoken to Goran face to face. The players had a couple of days off and Goran came in every day looking for someone to apologise to. He has taken it badly and as far as I'm concerned it's done and dusted and we move on from that as well."