Tony Pulis hopes Saido Berahino can find form as Spurs visit reopens speculation

first_img The striker could face Tottenham on Saturday for the first time since threatening to go on strike in the summer after Spurs had four bids rejected. He has been benched for the last three Barclays Premier League games after a dip in form and has netted just three times this season. The Baggies rejected two offers from Spurs on deadline day – the last rising to £23million with several clauses – after he scored 20 goals last season and, ahead of their Hawthorns visit, Pulis is still waiting for Berahino to regain his form. He said: “If you look at last season the most influential player at the club was Saido. He got the goals which got us the points which kept us in the league. This year we haven’t had that. “For six months we’ve played with Saido being nowhere near as good as he was last year. It was disappointing in lots of ways. I’m not blaming Saido, not anyone, it’s just fact. “There’s no question Saido was disappointed the deal never went through. There are people in the game who can handle it, there are people who can’t. “He’s an outstanding player and talent but we haven’t had that at the same level as we did last year. “I’m not saying we can’t get him back but we haven’t got him back to the same level. “The problem is the window is coming around again and they’ll be all the speculation.” Berahino was also dropped for three games earlier in the season as Pulis felt he was not in the right frame of mind to cope with the spotlight. Press Association Spurs have again been linked with a move for the 22-year-old next month but Pulis insisted Berahino is better off at the Baggies. “He has to get as fit as he was last year and wash everything else away. He has been given a God-given talent but in the last six months he has not fulfilled the potential,” he said. “He needs to get back to that for his own sake. The best place to do it is here. “I don’t want to get into asking prices and whether he is for sale or not. I’m not interested.” Meanwhile, Pulis is without the banned Claudio Yacob against Spurs while Ben Foster continues to be out with a long-term knee injury. Pulis insisted there had been no bids for Berahino, although the club have conceded they are powerless to stop interest, and the 57-year-old wants to work with Berahino for as long as possible. “No one has rung me up and said there is a deal there to be done and no one has rung the chairman up so it’s speculation,” he said. “My mindset has always been the same, which is to try to get the best out of the kid while he’s here. “If he’s here for the next 10 years and I am lucky enough to be here for the next 10 years then that’s what I’ll do continuously – try to get the best out of the players. “My job is to do that and if the chairman decides to sell him then the chairman decides to sell him.” January will be the third transfer window when Berahino has been the focus of speculation at The Hawthorns and while Pulis is confident the forward has learned from past mistakes he knows only the England Under-21 international can get himself back on track. “I think it takes time. There are different people, different characters,” he said. “We are all different and some people take over things straight away and others take time. “It’s important that he realises and recognises that he has got wonderful talent. “Irrespective of what we say, the lad has to pick up the baton himself and that’s important. “For all the talk we do, the important thing is that the lad who is running this and can control this has got to pick the baton up and that’s what Saido has got to do.” Tony Pulis believes West Brom have been missing the real Saido Berahino for six months.last_img read more

Latham’s super 67 leads senior championship

first_img Former English senior men’s champion Richard Latham took a step towards reclaiming his crown today with a superb 67 at Kirby Muxloe Golf Club in Leicestershire.Latham (image © Leaderboard Photography) won the title on his senior debut in 2013 and launched his current championship campaign with a four-under par round which put him three shots clear of the field.His closest challengers are two ‘new boys’ Nigel Chesters, from Shropshire, and Lancashire’s Trevor Foster, who both scored one-under par 70 at the championship’s other host venue, Rothley Park.Behind them on level par are Johnny Lawrence (Moor Allerton) and Keith Young (Ashridge), who also played at Rothley Park.Latham, the general manager at Woodhall Spa, made a dream start to his senior career. He quickly added the Scottish title to his English triumph and topped the England Golf senior order of merit. But last year, by his own admission, was poor – and he has arrived at this championship determined to revive his fortunes.He worked hard on his swing over the winter and was rewarded today, reaching the turn in one-under and coming home in three-under. “It was a relief,” he said after holing a 15-footer on the last for his seventh birdie of the day. “Funnily enough I didn’t hole a lot of putts because I hit a lot of iron shots close, so it was nice to hole a good one on the last.“I just kept going, aiming for fairways and greens, and I played really steadily.”Chesters and Foster are both making their first appearance in this event, but come armed with much experience.Chesters (Hawkstone Park) is a past winner of the English men’s mid-amateur championship for the Logan Trophy, while Foster (Accrington and District) played 108 times for Lancashire and was in the 1988 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.Chesters’ round marked his return to form after three years of nearly-but-not-quite results which have seen his handicap creep up from plus-two to scratch. Today, though, his short game was hot and he had a purple patch around the turn, with three birdies in four holes from the eighth.Foster had four birdies in his round, including one on the last to tie with Chesters. He’s enjoyed much success in Lancashire and he commented: “It’s nice to come here and see what I can do. I wanted to dig in and this is a nice opening round, but there’s still two rounds to go.”The 288 competitors had to contend with chilly temperatures and blustery winds and only five players in the field of 288 equalled or bettered par. Overall, the better scoring was at Rothley Park, where 10 players were among the top 15 on the leaderboard. The more penal rough at Kirby Muxloe was generally reckoned to be the difference between the two.Cheshire’s David Nelson (Northenden) had the second best score at Kirby Muxloe after returning one-over 72, despite a tweaked back. “Beware the injured golfer,” he joked.Nelson’s round had a dramatic start when he opened with an eagle two on the first, after holing an eight-iron, and followed up with birdie three on the fourth. He is another player in good form having won the recent West of England seniors, a scratch event at Wallasey and the Cheshire senior matchplay.The shot of the day belonged to Tony Croasdale of Stanton on the Wolds who had a hole in one on 183-yard 12th at Rothley Park.The championship is played over 54 holes of stroke play. All competitors play 18 holes on each of the two courses over the first two days. After tomorrow’s second round the field will be cut to the leading 80 competitors and ties who will play the final 18 holes at Kirby Muxloe on Friday.Click here for full scores 1 Jun 2016 Latham’s super 67 leads senior championship last_img read more