Club News

Clarke: We'll be ready

Internationals force boss to bring Liverpool preparations forward

STEVE Clarke admits he has had to bring preparations for Albion’s Barclays Premier League opener against Liverpool forward due to losing 11 seniors players to midweek international duty after the weekend.

The Baggies kick-off their campaign against the Reds on Saturday week (ko 3pm) and will be without several key men until after Wednesday night’s friendlies with their respective countries.

But the Albion boss insists it is no excuse and has every faith the side he fields against Brendan Rodgers’ outfit will be well drilled.

“More experienced and better managers than me have said that it’s a nonsense to play international matches in the week leading up to the start of the season,” said Clarke, speaking at the official media unveiling of his four new signings Ben Foster, Markus Rosenberg, Yassine El Ghanassy and Claudio Yacob yesterday.

“I lose 11 players next week so we’ve had to do a lot of work this week towards the game against Liverpool.

“But that’s something everyone has to deal with. We’re not the only club that’s got that problem.

“Liverpool will have that problem and we just have to deal with it.

“I know it’s being addressed and I think the year after next they are going to lose this friendly in the week building up to the season, which is a good thing.

“We’ll have a couple of training sessions when the players are back to make sure we’ve got our ideas in place.

“But hopefully the work we’ve been doing all along in pre-season has given my players a good grounding in what I expect from them and how I expect them to approach the game, no matter who the opponents are.

“There are little bits you can tweak, depending on who you’re playing, towards the weekend.

“So, don’t worry! We’ll be ready.”

Clarke is also hopeful of adding further new recruits to his squad before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.

But he insisted he is happy to run with squad he currently has at his disposal should the Baggies not add to their ranks.

“The idea was always to freshen things up and I think we’ve done that,” he added.

“If we can do the business we’ll try and bring in one or two more players, if possible.

“If the window shut now I’d be happy with what we’ve got.

“If we can improve it then that would be great as well.”