Baggies chief looking to translate his FA Cup success as a player to time as head coach
STEVE Clarke has fond memories of lifting the FA Cup as a player – and has now set his sights on winning it as Albion head coach.
The Baggies chief bagged a winners’ medal in 1997 as Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at Wembley.
And he begins his mission as a boss in tomorrow’s third-round clash at QPR (ko 3pm), having been part of the Liverpool coaching staff who lost to Roberto Di Matteo’s Blues in last year’s final.
“I have great memories of winning the FA Cup,” said Clarke.
“When you walk up the steps you get your hands on the FA Cup and it’s every young boy’s dream to play in a winning cup-final side at Wembley.
“It’s a great feeling and I’ve got some fantastic pictures and great momentos from the occasion.
“It’s something I’d like to do as a head coach as well.
“At the moment it’s as high in our priorities as anything else.
“We’re only involved in three competitions, we’re no longer in the League Cup, we’re in the FA Cup, and we’re hoping to be involved in it as long as possible.”
Albion are sitting pretty in seventh spot in the Barclays Premier League table after 21 games.
But they will return to the scene of their 2-1 Boxing Day victory over the lowly R’s knowing Harry Redknapp’s men could be a different proposition after their confidence-boosting 1-0 win at Chelsea in midweek.
“They’ve had a great result during the week,” Clarke added, whose side have won three and drawn two of their ten league games on the road this term.
“I’m sure they will be a little buoyant, but maybe their priorities will be to stay in the league, where as we are a bit more comfortable in the league and it’s a competition we want to do well in.
“At this stage, if you look at the points we have got in the league, we are sitting in a reasonable position.
“Next up is the FA Cup and it’s a competition that I have always enjoyed success in as a player and coach, and I would like to try and continue that.
“Obviously they'll have more confidence about them and hope they have turned the corner.
“I'm not sure what team Harry will pick, I don't know if he'll make a lot of changes, I don't know if he'll try to keep the momentum.
“It was certainly a fantastic result and one that maybe they'll look at as a season-changing result.
“But we’ve gone to a lot of away grounds and put in good performances, that’s what we have to try and do again.”