English League 1

Laws: Huge task ahead

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Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:21:00

Steve Clarke is planning to bolster his West Bromwich Albion ranks over the summer and has warned potential suitors off his key men.

The Baggies boss claims it would take 'a fortune' to lure any of his star turns away from The Hawthorns, with it his intention to strengthen ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

He believes 'three or four' additions would help to take West Brom forward and is hoping to carry out his transfer business as quickly as possible when the window re-opens.

Clarke told the Birmingham Mail: "It's difficult to speculate how many players will come because you don't know how many clubs are going to try to take some of your players.

"At the moment, looking at the squad, if we were to bring in three or four that would be enough - but things can change.

"Our players aren't going to be cheap. I don't think anyone would be wise to come for any of our players because they will cost a fortune."

He added: "In an ideal world we'd get early signings. The early signing last summer was Ben Foster and the other ones came in over the course of pre-season.

"As long as we get to the start of pre-season and we've improved the squad, as and when they come in is irrelevant really.

"We run with a small squad but we run with a good squad and you have to use them well. The experienced players are really important at this club."

The Shakers are already relegated and could only name two substitutes against Scunthorpe due to their severe financial problems.

Goals from on-loan Peterborough duo Jonson Clarke-Harris and Nicky Ajose earned Bury a 2-1 win against the Iron, but Shirtliff said: "That's the situation we're in. We are down to the bare bones and the lads will keep going.

"You never know, we might win the last two games. I'm a big believer that the way you finish one season is how you start the next one, so hopefully we can finish on a high.

"It is a consolation but I'm pleased for the players because they've tried hard all season and haven't had the best of fortune.

"They showed a good enthusiasm in the second half to win the game.

"It speaks well of them. They're playing individually for their careers and collectively for each other, so that was pleasing.

"They've always given it a go but have just fallen short at the last hurdle.

"We gave the ball away too much in the first half so they caught us a few times on that but we did a lot better in the second half."

The Iron threw away a 1-0 lead to lose at Bury on Tuesday evening, leaving them five points adrift with just two games remaining.

And although Laws will not stop fighting, he admits the drop is looming large.

He said: "There has to be a large portion of doubt now because the performance in the second half and the defeat means it is a huge task.

"It would be a miracle if we stay up. Even if we win both games, we're depending on the complete collapse of other teams and I'm not seeing that at all.

"I'll still keep fighting, that's for sure. I know it's cheap talk but we've got to."

Frustratingly for Laws, Scunthorpe had controlled much of the game, going ahead on the stroke of half-time when Karl Hawley headed home Mark Duffy's cross.

But they suffered an incredible collapse, sparked by on-loan Peterborough duo Jonson Clarke-Harris and Nicky Ajose.

Clarke-Harris rifled a stunning 20-yard free-kick into the corner of the net before Ajose capitalised on a defensive error to slot home the winner.

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