Club News

Boss hails 'incredible' McAuley

Clarke impressed with how centre-half has remained a rock through tricky spell

STEVE Clarke has described the high level of performances Gareth McAuley continues to deliver game after game as ‘unbelievable’.

The 33-year-old centre-half has played in all-but two of the Baggies’ Barclays Premier League outings this term – and has not missed a match in any competition since mid-November.

And Clarke has been astonished how comfortably McAuley, who is only in his second top-flight campaign, has coped with the hectic festive schedule without letting his standards drop.

“He’s unbelievable,” said the Hawthorns boss.

“He’s one of the players who’s had to play every game.

“He turns up every week and keeps putting in incredible performances.

“And I’ve got to put Billy Jones in that category because recently Billy’s been doing the same.

“We haven’t had too many options on the right side of defence.

“It was nice to get Goran Popov back in as well – it was a chance for Liam Ridgewell to get a breather.

“It’s important we keep the players as fresh as we can over the course of the season.

“But Gareth has been exceptional this season.”