HUGHES FIGHTING FIT - TOWNSEND TURNS DOWN POST

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WEST BROM striker Lee Hughes has given the Albion fans a boost by stating that he will be fit for the start of next season, while Andy Townsend has told the club he does not want to be the reserve team manager.

The 24-year-old striker scored 17 times for The Baggies last season before suffering a fractured tibia in a clash with Ipswich`s Richard Wright after scoring Albion`s goal in the 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.

Fresh from his honeymoon in the Seychelles, Hughes is back in the Black Country and looking forward to forming a deadly striking partnership with Bob Taylor in the coming season.

"I haven't looked forward to the start of a new season as much as I am now," Hughes told the official website.

"Even when I was in the Seychelles I was building up my fitness by doing plenty of swimming and walking.

"I'll have the tibia assessed by the physio when I report back for pre-season training next Wednesday. I don't see there being any problems and hopefully I will be given the green light to join in with the rest of the lads.

"All my thoughts are on being fit and ready for August 12, and I honestly feel I will be."

Meanwhile, Baggies boss Gary Megson has said Andy Townsend will not remain on as reserve team manager at The Hawthorns.

The former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough man will stay on as a player at The Hawthorns as his contract has one year left to run.

"He'll have nothing to do with the coaching side of it now and we'll take it from there.

"We are going to bring another coach into the club, but it won't be a direct replacement for the job that Andy was doing.

"That's something we can take our time with a little bit. I know who I want to bring in and at the moment. I'm working on doing that.

"But Andy was given the opportunity. He feels that it's not the right opportunity for him, so we'll have to take it from there."