07:00 10th June 2013
And boss would like to have majority of new signings in before season starts
STEVE Clarke has put his players on alert for another gruelling pre-season programme.
The first team will report back in early July to begin gearing up for the top-flight kick-off on Saturday, August 17.
And Clarke has promised them another tough workout as he looks to get them in the best shape possible to try and top last season’s best-ever eighth-place Barclays Premier League finish.
“Last year the pre-season was good,” said the Albion boss.
“The players were excellent last pre-season.
“They took on everything that we gave them, all the different ideas that we put in place.
“We had a good pre-season, after two weeks they couldn’t walk!
“We couldn’t win a game, and I think they started to get a bit nervous because of that.
“But I wasn’t worried, I know the way that I work the players over pre-season means the first three-four weeks they play every game fatigued.
“But we came out the other side, and hit the ground running and caught some teams by surprise early in the season.
“Hopefully we’ll hit the ground running again, I’m not so sure we will take teams by surprise again, though."
He added: “Pre-season will be similar to last year.
“It won’t be the same, because if you’re not trying to improve things and change things then you’re not doing your job.
“It will be slightly different but hopefully with the same end product.”
Although the transfer window does not close until the end of August, Clarke also hopes to have the majority of his new signings on board before the season starts so he has more time to bed them in.
He said: “In an ideal world you want your squad together before the season starts but that’s not to say you don’t wait the extra two weeks to get the player that is right for your squad.
“If we have to do that, then we’ll do that.”