Former West Bromwich Albion captain Derek McInnes has urged Glasgow Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson to choose a move to The Hawthorns over a switch to local rivals Birmingham City.
McInnes, who is currently the manager of Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone and was a contender to replace Tony Mowbray as Albion boss recently, said Ferguson’s Premiership ambitions would be better served with a move to The Hawthorns.
Albion have been courting the 31-year-old since before the end of last season and Ferguson has been given a tour of Albion’s facilities.
However, Blues boss and former Rangers and Scotland manager Alex McLeish has also entered the race to entice Ferguson to the Midlands.
Ferguson has now entered the final year of his contract at Ibrox and has been informed he won’t be offered an extension to his current deal, but Rangers don’t want to lose the player for nothing either and are keen to try to cash in on him by selling him for £1m this summer.
McInnes said: “If Barry asked me about the club I’d have nothing but good things to say about it.
“Barry is in a fortunate position and ultimately he will be the one who makes any decisions over his career, but West Brom would be a great move for him if he did decide to leave Rangers. They have fantastic facilities, a great support and everything there is geared towards Premiership football.
“Having come down last season, they will start among the favourites to win the Championship and that requires players with mental strength to handle expectations. Over the years Barry has proved he has that in spades. He has handled the pressure that goes hand in hand with leading Rangers.
“Barry did well when he was at Blackburn and he would do well again if he decides to head south.”
Meanwhile, striker Ishmael Miller is hoping he will be fit to face Newcastle on the opening day of the season.
In December, Miller damaged his cruciate ligament in a collision with Portsmouth keeper David James and missed the rest of last season but the 22-year-old has battled back after surgery and is confident of being fit by August 8.
“My knee feels very strong,” he said. “I am training but I’m taking it easy at the same time and I’m making sure than when August 8 comes I am back and ready to play a 90-minute game.
“I trained on Friday possession-wise and passing-wise, and we had a game at the end which I dropped out of.
“I can do everything else and I’ll be going on tour to Slovenia.
“I should be fully fit for the start of the season. You never know if you’re going to have a setback, but hopefully that won’t happen and I’ll be fine.
“It feels better than I expected it to feel. When I had the injury and started my rehab I didn’t think I would feel as good as I do at this time.
“I feel I am a much better player now, especially mentally. I have been through a big injury now and it’s made me a stronger player.
“I’ve definitely got lost time to make up for. It has been a hard seven months and it’s seven months out of my career.”
Teenage midfielder Joss Labadie has signed a new one-year Albion contract, with a further year’s option in the club’s favour.
The 18-year-old signed his first pro contract last summer and was progressing well until a metatarsal injury cruelly cut short a loan spell at League Two Shrewsbury Town in January and sidelined him for six weeks.
The Croydon-born youngster has yet to make his first-team debut for the club but he made ten appearances, including one as a substitute, for Albion in the Barclays Premier Reserve League South last term.