Worried fans were last night urged not to turn highly-paid players into easy targets in football’s fight to survive coronavirus.

Albion are expected to follow Premier League advice on players’ wages as they plot a way through the Covid-19 crisis.

Prem and EFL clubs will continue to talk with the PFA today over a wage deferral scheme.

Bournemouth yesterday became the fourth top-tier club to furlough non-playing staff while boss Eddie Howe and three high-ranking colleagues have taken pay cuts.

Albion remain committed to protecting the jobs and wages of their employees.

But pressure has been mounting on players to make a move financially which eases the burden on their clubs.

The Argus:

Football finance lecturer Kieran Maguire (pictured) believes players will do their bit - and, in some cases, already are.

He told The Argus: “What the Albion have done in supporting their support staff has been magnificent.

“I think that has come from Tony (Bloom, chairman) and is part of the culture of the club going back to things like the Shoreham air disaster.

“In terms of where we are going to go forward, we are peering into fog.

“There is no guarantee as to when football returns or how it will return.

“Whether that is in front of paying public, whether in front of a restricted crowd.

“Could it be restricted to 3,000 people at the stadium?

“Or is it going to be behind closed doors to satisfy the contract with the broadcasters?

“Until some form of clarity arises, then it is all speculation.

“The degree of criticism that is being levelled at the industry, I think is completely disproportionate.

“Footballers didn’t cause the pandemic, they didn’t cause the 2007 recession or any of these things so why are they being singled out by politicians when there are many other wealthy people?

“Nobody is denying that footballers earn good money but to say that the football industry operates in a moral vacuum?

“We have an arms industry in this country and you could question the morality of that.

“We had BrightHouse go into administration two days ago, a company which has preyed on the poor.

“I think football has become a convenient whipping boy for people who ought to know better.”

He added: “I think the Albion will have already had discussions and will wait for a Premier League wide decision to be made and then go along with it.”

Maguire is reluctant to criticise players for not taking pay cuts already.

He said: “We don’t know what the footballers are doing.

“Look at what Wilfried Zaha did.

“He has some properties he operates as an Air BnB business.

“All of these have been given out to people who work in the NHS.

“This is a lot that people don’t appreciate, especially with players coming from overseas such as Africa and South America.

“They send an awful lot of money home to support communities and families.

“Footballers, in my experience, acknowledge they are in a position which many people, who don’t have their talent, would love to be in.

“They do an awful lot which doesn’t get appreciated because it doesn’t make the news.”