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FOOTBALL: LEE IN LIMBO; Baggies expect long haul over Hughes' wages.

Byline: JOHN CURTIS

WEST Bromwich Albion are locked in negotiations to recapture striker Lee Hughes from Coventry City.

Although the clubs agreed a fee yesterday, personal terms have still to be settled - and Baggies boss Gary Megson admits that it could be a lengthy process.

"There are a lot of things that need to drop into place before this one happens - and some you win and some you lose," he warned.

"If this deal for Lee Hughes comes off it will be good news - from my point of view I did not want him to go last summer.

"I really thought he was a massive asset to this football club and when you associate players with West Brom, the first one you thought of was Lee.

"I think Lee Hughes would be an asset to any Premiership side but it is not done and dusted."

Albion chief executive Brendon Batson confirmed: "We have agreed a fee with Coventry for Lee Hughes. Negotiations with the player are ongoing."

Hughes joined Coventry in a pounds 5million deal 12 months ago and finished last season as the Sky Blues' top scorer with 14 goals.

He would have to cut his pounds 15,000-per-week Highfield Road wages to fit in with Albion's own tight budget policy but he is expected to jump at the chance to return to the scene of his greatest triumphs.

Hughes scored 79 goals in 139 starts in his four years at The Hawthorns after joining them from Kidderminster and quickly became a cult hero among the fans.

When Megson was forced to sell Hughes last season it signalled a determination to change the order of Midlands football.

"It is like a pond where the big fish eat the smaller ones," Megson said at the time.

"What we have got to do is become a bigger fish so that people can't take them off us."

CAPTION(S):

HAIL AND FAREWELL: Lee Hughes celebrates victory at Reading with Sky Blues boss Gary McAllister. Picture: Richard Nelmes
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 24, 2002
Words:335
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