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Clarke keeping one step ahead

PUBLISHED

05:00 31st December 2012

And boss remains happy with squad heading into January window

STEVE Clarke has revealed he picked his team at Manchester United on Saturday with tomorrow's home clash with Fulham (ko 12.45pm) - the Baggies' fourth game in ten days - in mind.

The Hawthorns boss made seven changes - three enforced due to injuries to Jonas Olsson (groin), Youssouf Mulumbu and Goran Popov (both hamstring) - to his starting line-up at Old Trafford, resting Zoltan Gera and dropping James Morrison, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Romelu Lukaku on the bench.

His team pushed United all the way before conceding a stoppage-time goal to lose 2-0.

And Clarke insists the performance against the table-topping Red Devils is why he would remain happy with his squad without adding to it in the January transfer window.

"I was looking ahead to the Fulham game before I picked my team for the last game," he said.

"And I was looking ahead to the United game when I picked my team for the game before that.

"There are a lot of games in a short period of time.

"You have to use the squad as best as you can and make sure we don't falter and lose games."

He added: "I don't think any of the injuries we have are major or long term.

"If they're not ready for the next game some of them might have an outside chance for QPR in the cup and then, after that, it's a clear week before the Reading game - hopefully I'll be able to give the boys a couple of days off to rest and recuperate.

"There are no thoughts, at the moment, about changing the way we are thinking about the January window.

"As I said before, if I can keep the squad I've got I'll be happy with that."

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