Football - Clarke saying with Baggies for now

West Brom boss Steve Clarke only has eyes for the Baggies just now - but he is not ruling out returning to an assistant's role in the future.

PA Sport

With Jose Mourinho tipped to return to Chelsea in the summer, there has been some talk that Clarke might be enticed back to Stamford Bridge, where he worked with the controversial coach for three years, during which time Chelsea won two Premier League titles.

"At the moment, this one is the best one for me," Clarke said. "This is the one I've waited a long time for. I've served a big apprenticeship to be here and be the guy who makes the final decisions. Right now, I'm really comfortable and happy in this job."

Yet sheer expediency means Clarke is not prepared to rule out becoming an assistant again. After all, should he ever lose his current job, he would have to find another.

"I need to work," he said. "I won't stay out of the game just because I want to be my own man. Other opportunities could present themselves in the future - nobody knows what's going to happen.!

Clarke clearly does not want to talk publicly about Mourinho, and insists the pair have not spoken about his future plans.

In any case, Clarke has enough on his plate at the moment as he tries to ensure that West Brom's season does not just fizzle out.

And, ahead of the Barclays Premier League encounter with Newcastle, there are other issues to discuss, namely the future of Goran Popov, whose loan period from Dynamo Kiev is due to expire at the end of the season.

Initially, Popov was a first-team regular following his arrival from Ukraine. But the spitting incident against Tottenham that led to him being sent off and serving a three-match ban saw him dislodged by Liam Ridgewell, and the Macedonian has not actually played a game since.

Clarke said he has given it some thought but a decision won't be made until the end of the season, adding: "I haven't sat down or had long conversations with him but I know Goran is happy here. The only thing he's unhappy about is that he hasn't had more minutes on the pitch."

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