Tuesday 24 April 2018

Tony Pulis: West Brom need stability to continue their progress

West Brom boss Tony Pulis has extended his contract to 2019
West Brom boss Tony Pulis has extended his contract to 2019

Tony Pulis hopes he can take West Brom to the next level after signing a contract to remain as head coach until 2019.

The Baggies boss, whose previous contract ran until the end of the 2017/18 season, has been rewarded with a new deal after guiding the club to the top-half finish in the Premier League that owner Guochuan Lai demanded when the 59-year-old received his last extension in October.

Pulis arrived at The Hawthorns in January 2015 and is keen to carry on his good work. And he sees the club's academy as an important part of the future.

"I'm delighted to extend my contract because it continues the stability within the club which is essential for its progress," said Pulis, whose team get their Premier League campaign under way at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

"I've said all along that we are in a building phase which requires a step by step process. I think we've seen an improvement all across the club in recent seasons and we must continue that in what is such a tough, tough league.

"It's important we push the club and try to keep pushing it forwards, and part of that is that we maintain the development of our young players within the academy.

"I believe that there's a tremendous talent pool in there, and if that talent cannot be realised immediately within our own ranks it is vital we get them out into league football to continue their development and education.

"But I do believe in the future of these young players and that's an important part of the development of the club, especially with the incredible rises we are seeing in prices within the transfer market."

Pulis has introduced youngsters such as Sam Field and Jonathan Leko to the West Brom first team during his time in charge.

The demands of the Premier League make it hard to blood academy talent and Pulis accepts the priority is to maintain the club's top-flight status.

"Sometimes, for that reason, it makes it difficult, yes," he said.

"We can never underestimate just how important it is to keep our place in a league that is now the most famous and the most followed in the world. Neither can we underestimate how difficult that is.

''You only have to look at the Championship in recent years to remind yourself how many clubs have fallen through the hoop and how many sets of supporters would love to be where we are now.

''We must never take that for granted and continue to commit every ounce of our energy to keeping our club in the division every club in the country wants to be in.''

Gareth McAuley and James Morrison will miss West Brom's opening game of the season at home to Bournemouth through injury.

Central defender McAuley is struggling with a thigh problem and looks like he will be absent for most of August, but it is hoped midfielder Morrison will be fit for the trip to Burnley on August 19.

Summer signings Jay Rodriguez, Zhang Yuning and Ahmed Hegazi are all in contention to make their debuts for Albion.

Press Association

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