West Bromwich Albion manager Bryan Robson is set to find out this week whether he stands any chance of getting Kieran Richardson back on loan next season.
Robson is still ?very hopeful? that Richardson can be tempted back from Manchester United on a season?s loan. The key factor could be Rich-ardson?s need for sufficient Premiership first-team football to be considered for next summer?s World Cup.
The young midfielder?s emergence as an international player on England?s end-of-season tour of the United States has increased his stature. But he still has a real battle on his hands to become established at Old Trafford.
He has to weigh up what is best for his development . . . a campaign that could see him stuck back in the wings with United as he bids to make their first team, or another season back with Albion as a first-team fixture which would keep him very much in England coach Sven-G?ran Eriksson?s thinking.
Robson said: ?I know that Kieran and his father are talking to Sir Alex Ferguson this week and there?ll be a decision made.
?All I know is Kieran?s going to be up against Giggs, Scholes, Rooney, Ronaldo, Keane, Fletcher, and the Korean lad. Sir Alex has already got seven challenging for places. If he keeps Kieran, that makes it eight.
?That?s the challenge Kieran?s got.
?Kieran is a confident lad. And he would fancy his chances of getting in.
?But he knows that to go to the World Cup he?s got to play first-team football. Eriksson?s already told him that.
?That?s the big question mark. And I?m still very hopeful that Kieran will be playing for us next year.?
If things can be agreed in time, Richardson might even make it to Portugal with Albion on their pre-season tour next week.
?Kieran?s down to go on tour with Manchester United next week,? Robson said. ?But, at this stage, who knows what will happen.?
Another who reported back yesterday was Zoltan Gera, along with fellow midfielder Inamoto. There is also an unfamiliar face at their Walsall Road training ground, 6ft 4in Polish international defender Jaroslav Bieniuk.
?He?ll be training with us all this week,? Robson said. ?We watched him at the end of last season and he has decent potential.
?He?s quite an experienced player, he has good presence and from the reports I?ve had he looks decent.
?But the best way to take a closer look at him is with the rest of the lads.
?We?ll see how it goes but he won?t be playing any part in either of the games.
?I?ll make a decision on whether we take him on at the end of this week.?
Albion have one Pole in Tomasz Kuszczak and the arrival of another would make life interesting at Albion before England?s final World Cup qualifier against Poland at Old Trafford on October 12.
If Bieniuk is taken on, that would surely hasten the departure of former skipper Darren Purse, who ended last season surplus to requirements.
Robson is in the market for two Stockport County youngsters. Interest in teenage defender Michael Raynes comes on top of last week?s revelation that Albion have also enquired about another Edgeley Park rookie - but they are seen very much as ones for the future.