Pulis expects any bid for rumoured target Deeney to fail

Joe Williams

West Brom boss Tony Pulis admits any possible bid for Troy Deeney is likely to fail.

The Baggies chief stopped short of denying interest in the striker but conceded Watford will want to keep their captain.

Leicester had three bids rejected by Watford last summer – the third rising to £25million – before Deeney signed a five-year contract at Vicarage Road last July.

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has dismissed reports of West Brom’s interest in the 28-year-old and – ahead of their trip to the Hornets on Tuesday – Pulis expects him to stay.

“I don’t think they’d want to sell him anyway,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of time for Troy, he’s come through the lower leagues and it’s brilliant to see him in the Premier League. But he’s a Watford player, and I’ll show Watford respect.

“He didn’t play on Saturday (a 1-0 win over Sunderland) and they won and played very well. He has been a big influence at that football club and he has been a talisman over the last few years.”

But Pulis insisted he has been impressed with the way Deeney has grown up since he was jailed in 2012, serving three months, following a fight in Birmingham.

He said: “There’s lots of examples in football. A lot of these lads are working class lads, things have happened in early life, they’ve grown up, that’s what growing up is about; becoming more mature, more focused and Troy has certainly done that. He’s had a smashing career and fair play to him.”

Walsall would be due 25 per cent of any deal over the £500,000 Watford bought Deeney for in 2010. He has scored 105 goals for the Hornets and has netted nine times for them this season, including five in his last eight games.

The Baggies face Watford at Vicarage Road following Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Manchester United and Matt Phillips will be assessed as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, which has forced him to miss the last five games.

Albion are eighth in the Premier League with 44 points, five short of their record tally in the division.

Pulis added: “It will be a different game than the last two we’ve played but that’s what the Premier League is about, coming up against different systems and different strengths. You have to deal with all of it.”