BALIS DEAL IN THE BALANCE

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WEST BROMWICH ALBION'S bid to sign Slovakian international Igor Balis may be cast into doubt, unless his club Slovan Bratislava lower their asking price for the wing-back.

Balis spent two spells on trial at The Hawthorns this season, and Baggies boss Gary Megson is keen to bring the 30-year-old to the Midlands on a permanent basis.

However, after meeting with the player's representatives to discuss a possible deal, West Brom have admitted that the deal may now be scrapped, unless they can reach a compromise on the player's value.

Baggies chief executive John Wile told the official West Brom website: "I don't think the player's contractual terms will be an issue, but the valuation his current club are putting on his head will be.

"The size of the fee, for a player who turns 31 in January and is out of contract at the end of their season, is more than both Gary's and this club's valuation."

Although Wile refused to give up hope of signing Balis, adding: "Everybody's anxious to bring more players into the club and I felt we made progress with the player's representatives yesterday.

"But it's not something we can push through in 24-hours, there's still some negotiating to be done with his club."

Meanwhile, injured Baggies captain Derek McInnes has revealed that he lent star striker Lee Hughes his boots for the games last two games, in which he scored consecutive hat-tricks.

After Hughes had complained about the state of his old boots, McInnes, who has been ruled out of action for the rest of the season, offered the 24-year-old hit-man a lend of his, with dramatic results.

" I was going to ask the kit-man for a pair, but Derek had some, so I had those," explained Hughes.

"After six goals in two games, Derek's got no chance of getting them back, they're my lucky boots. They've helped me enjoy what's been a perfect week."