West Brom's Gareth McAuley hopes to keep playing alongside Jonny Evans

West Bromwich Albion's Northern Irish defender Jonny Evans (L) and West Bromwich Albion's Northern Irish defender Gareth McAuley (C) celebrate their late e
Image: Jonny Evans (L) and Gareth McAuley (R) have formed a solid defensive pairing for club and country

Gareth McAuley hopes Northern Ireland team-mate Jonny Evans will stay at West Brom after the disappointment of losing the club's captain Darren Fletcher.

Fletcher has signed for Stoke City and, according to Sky sources, Evans was the subject of a £10m bid from Leicester City last week.

That offer was reportedly rejected and centre-back partner McAuley expects the 29-year-old to continue to be a lynchpin at The Hawthorns.

Speaking at the launch of a School of Football initiative in Larkhall, McAuley said: "Jonny's been linked but I don't think they will sell. They will be looking to build a team around him.

"Fletch was a big, big player for us on and off the pitch. He was our captain and I was a little disappointed he has moved on but people come and go in football all the time and I am sure the club will work hard to try and find a suitable replacement."

McAuley continued to impress in the Premier League last season at the age of 37, but he could miss part of pre-season with a thigh injury he aggravated while playing for his country.

He added: "I've had a slight niggle with my thigh and a recurrence with it when I tried to play against Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Also See:

"It's settling down okay and I've got a couple of weeks to do some strength stuff and get ready for pre-season. Hopefully it will be settled down and back to normal, and I'll be fit and strong again."

Around Sky