West Bromwich Albion have rubbished unsettling national newspaper reports suggesting that chairman Jeremy Peace's holiday has caused internal conflict at the club.

Peace opted to take his annual family holiday over the last fortnight in the Easter break to ensure he is back at his desk in time for when his job will really hot up at the end of the season.

The Baggies chairman is likely to have to spend a busy summer wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, in preparation for life almost certainly back in the Championship next season.

And manager Bryan Robson has expressed his anger that the chairman's holiday - during which Albion have picked up just a point from three games - should have been misinterpreted as letting him or the players down. "It's a load of nonsense," he said.

An Albion board spokesman also admitted to being "staggered" at the reported suggestion that Peace's holiday had been considered ill-timed in the dressing room, given the Baggies' current precarious plight.

"The chairman's holiday has been fixed for some time," said the spokesman. "It coincided with a school holiday period and fitted in with his plan to spend the whole of the summer at his desk, when the transfer window is open.

"The chairman has been in daily contact with the club and has watched all three games live on satellite TV. He will be back at The Hawthorns in time for Monday's game against West Ham."

One issue Peace will have to resolve on his return from holiday is the future of Jason Koumas.

The mercurial Welsh international midfielder ends his season-long to Cardiff City back in the Midlands on Sunday at Coventry City's Ricoh Arena.

Cardiff have first refusal on a permanent signing and, given how popular he has proved in South Wales, Blue-birds boss Dave Jones is urgently trying to find ways of funding the #1.5 million fee needed to trigger Albion's sale of Koumas.

"Jason's the type of player we need if the club wants to improve," said Jones. "He's a big part of what we are trying to do.

"But a lot of players are out of contract and some people have to be sold to get cash to move forward. I'm not the only one doing this. Every manager is."

Meanwhile, Denmark international defender Thomas Gaardsoe is in danger of missing the start of next season after undergoing a major groin operation.

Gaardsoe has been troubled by the injury since the end of last season, and it had been hoped that a combination of rest and a hernia operation in January might cure the problem. But he has continued to experience stomach pains, leaving him with no alternative but to go under the knife.

It leaves Gaardsoe facing a summer of rehabilitation back home in Denmark. And, although his main target is next season's big kick-off on August 13, his more immediate concern is being fit for his wedding in June.

"I'll have to fly back to England from time to time so our physio Nick Worth can see how it is healing first hand," said Gaardsoe. "And, with the wedding as well, it's going to be a busy summer with a lot of travelling back and forth. But the best case scenario for me, if everything goes according to plan, is being fit enough to play some part of pre-season."

The Dane has made just seven league starts this season after being ousted chiefly by the arrival of Curtis Davies. But, with Davies sure to move on this summer if Albion go down, Gaardsoe's absence would leave an even bigger hole.