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Steve getting substance AND style

4 August 2012

Head coach says players are ‘passing’ new demands with flying colours

STEVE Clarke says his players are ‘passing’ the new demands he is putting on them ahead of the big kick-off with flying colours.

The head coach is using pre-season to improve the team’s possession game and says the evidence on show at Hillsborough suggests they are embracing the new direction.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do over the last few weeks,” said Clarke after the 1-1 friendly draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

“We’ve tried to introduce a style where the players are comfortable on the ball and want to pass it. 

“We do a lot passing drills and exercises in training and it is starting to show through in the games.

“Obviously, we need to tighten up in certain areas when we’re making the passes.

“We can’t make passes that will be dangerous if we lose possession, so we need to work more on that.

“But the players have been receptive and are working really hard. I’m delighted with them.”

Steven Reid missed the trip to South Yorkshire through a minor injury but Clarke expects him to be fit for the start of the season at the very latest.

“He just picked up a little niggle in training the other day and we’re getting too close to the start of the season to risk it,” he said.

“I don’t think he’ll be ready for Walsall on Tuesday night but fingers crossed he can play a part in the game at Forest on Friday.

“If not, he should be ready for the start of the season.”

Clarke revealed after last Saturday’s goalless draw at Barnsley that Simon Cox had been the subject of a bid from an unnamed club.

But the Republic of Ireland striker was on Albion duty today, replacing Graham Dorrans in the 79th minute.

And Clarke said Cox is no closer to leaving the club.

“Last week, we maybe thought Simon would move on but things seem to have gone very quiet on that one and as you could see, Simon was part of the squad today and had a little cameo at the end,” he reflected.

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