Boss provides update on striker's situation
STEVE Clarke says he is confident Saido Berahino will sign a new contract within 24 hours.
The 20-year-old striker has made a flying start to the season, firing a Capital One Cup hat-trick against Newport on his full Baggies debut in August.
He followed that up by notching against Arsenal in the same competition and has since netted his first Barclays Premier League goals in wins over Manchester United and Crystal Palace.
And the hotshot, who has played at every level for England from Under-16s, has scored six goals in four games for Gareth Southgate’s Under-21s this term.
Clarke said: "I'm confident Saido will sign his new deal within the next 24 hours.
"It will be great for Saido because he’s a young boy and he’s maybe become a little bit distracted by the fact it’s been going on for so long.
“That’s been a little negative for the whole situation but there are not too many negatives surrounding Saido this season.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air in the squad, he’s been a revelation and has made a big contribution to us already.
“When he signs his contract he has a massive part to play for us for the rest of the season.
“I don’t think it’s affected his form on the field; I just feel there were other things on his mind over the last couple of weeks.
“When you get so close to signing what is a very, very good contract, as a young boy, sometimes it can be difficult to get your head around that fact.
“Hopefully now we can forget about talking about contracts and focus on Saido the player and help him improve."
He added: “The next stage for Saido is to keep doing what he’s doing and try and improve.
“He doesn’t need to worry where he is in the pecking order because I think I’ve shown this season if it’s the right moment to put him onto the pitch, I’ve done it.
“So, he doesn’t have to worry about that.
“He knows exactly where he is in the scheme of things here and how I use my squad.
“When I turn to the bench, if I’ve got choices to make, Saido has already shown he can be the player I bring to the pitch or the player to start games."