05:00 22nd April 2013
And boss gives his thoughts on what summer might bring
STEVE Clarke has urged his players not to throw away their top-half-of-the-table status in the closing stages of the season.
The eighth-placed Baggies’ impressive campaign has seen them drop no lower than ninth in the Barclays Premier League all term.
And, with only five games remaining, they are five points clear of 11th-placed Fulham and three ahead of Swansea and West Ham.
“I’d love to qualify for the Europa League,” said Clarke.
“It does stretch you and it is difficult but if you’re in the game to be successful, you want to be as successful as you can be.
“So we want to finish as high up the league as we can.
“Obviously this year it won’t be high enough for European football but we’ll still try and finish in the top ten, which is a great achievement for this club.
“We haven’t dropped below ninth all season and it would be a great shame if we did now.
“We picked another point up on Saturday and 45 points with five games to go is a good position for a club of our size and stature.
“The way the chairman runs the club is good.
“He keeps it on an even keel and doesn’t overstretch the club – and it’s a big compliment to the players that they’ve been in the top half of the table all season.
“We don’t want to let that drift away.
“We want to finish in the top half of the table, finish well and the 50-points target is still there for us.”
And, looking ahead, the Albion chief outlined how he would like to enhance his squad in the summer.
“In an ideal world it will be fine-tuning to the squad,” he added.
“But you don’t know what is going to happen in the summer.
“There may be some players hiding some feelings that they want to move on and some players that other clubs are going to come and take off you and unsettle, as happened to us in January.
“You never know.
“In an ideal world, I think three or four players added to the squad will keep us moving in the right direction.
“It’s up to us to find the right players.
“If anybody comes for any of our better players it’s a compliment because it tells you we’ve had a good season and we’ve got good players.
“But they’ll need to bring a very large cheque!”