West Brom boss Clarke preparing for life without Lukaku

The Baggies boss is "99 per cent sure" that the Belgian striker will spend pre-season with his parent club before a decision is made on where he will play next term
West Brom manager Steve Clarke admits that he is preparing for life without star striker Romelu Lukaku, who is set to rejoin Chelsea in the summer.

The Belgian forward has flourished while on loan at the Hawthorns from Stamford Bridge, scoring 13 goals in a campaign which has seen him shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

22/1 Romelu Lukaku is 22/1 with Bet365 to score first in a draw between Southampton and West Brom
However, Clarke is expecting the 19-year-old to spend pre-season with his parent club before the Blues decide whether or not to let him return for a second season away on loan.

"He's Chelsea's player but he is contracted to us until June," the Baggies boss told reporters. "I'm 99 per cent sure that he will do a pre-season with them and then a decision will be taken on whether to let him out again.

"That's how I read the situation but we have to develop the squad without knowing that unless Chelsea come to us at the end of the season and say we can have him - which I very much doubt.

"I'd love him to stay with us but we have to prepare for life without him. He likes it here and he's been nominated for Young Player of the Year which tells you that he has been successful with us."

West Brom sit eighth in the Premier League table ahead of their Saturday clash with Southampton.