Date: 21st December 2005 at 11:45am
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Teams have started to pick up on the influential Nigerian as his much improved performances have boosted Albion.

Albion number two Nigel Pearson thinks that the way Kanu is playing at the moment will only draw attention to him and make it tougher for him to play.

Pearson said, ‘Portsmouth played the kind of game where they were very narrow and wanted to deny the space that Kanu could operate in.

‘He gives us a different dimension and is very important to us, but I would expect more clubs will identify him as someone who can hurt them.

Pearson is concerned that other teams will start to follow Portsmouth’s game plan. He added, ‘Other teams will be like Portsmouth in the sense of being aware if you give Kanu too much time on the ball, then he can do things with his creativity.’

It remains to be seen whether Albion will lose Kanu for six weeks and link up with the Nigeria squad for the African Cup of Nations. Middlesbrough striker Yakubu has already pulled out of the competition and chose to stay with Boro.

If Kanu chooses to link up with Nigeria The Baggies are hoping to put off his departure until after the Wigan game in January.

Nigeria want the ace to join up with the squad 10 days before the start of the competition but Albion are hoping to put the Nigerian FA off the idea.