Club News

Clarke seeking home comfort

And boss not surprised to see his old club West Ham doing well on Prem return

STEVE Clarke is hoping a return to The Hawthorns against West Ham on Sunday (ko 4pm) can help get his sixth-placed men back on track.

The Baggies boss will face his former club, where he spent two seasons as assistant manager to Gianfranco Zola, looking to end a three-game losing streak.

Albion boast the joint-second best home record in the Barclays Premier League, while the Hammers have picked up seven points from as many games on the road this term, losing four times.

“I think maybe for the supporters and people outside the inner circle expectations might have started rising,” said Clarke, who this week picked up the November Barclays Manager-of-the-Month award for four successive wins.

“We’ve always said there will be good moments in the season and bad moments and we have to treat both the same and just work towards the objective over the course of the whole season.

“There’s always a difficult time in the season for any club.

“With all the games in December you can quickly get into a good run or quickly into a bad run.

“We’ve got into a bad run and the first objective is to stop that.

“We’ve got two home games coming up.

“The first is West Ham this weekend and that’s the one that gets our full attention – and we look to stop our bad run now.

“Our home record has been good.

“We set out at the start of the season to make The Hawthorns a difficult place to come.

“Hopefully we can continue that on Sunday.”

Sam Allardyce’s United currently sit 11th in the table after clinching promotion through the play-offs last season.

And Clarke is delighted to see his old outfit performing so well back in the top flight.

“They’ve done fantastically,” he added.

“For a club to come up from the Championship, keep going, and start the way West Ham have started is not surprising to me because I know they’ve got a lot of good players.

“There are still a lot of players there from my time at the club, which I enjoyed very much, even though it finished on a sour note.

“It was a good club to work for and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“The new owners have gone in and stabilised the club.

“Unfortunately for them they had to suffer relegation but I think in the long run it was probably a good thing for the club.

“It gave them time to stabilise and they’ve certainly come back to the Premier League much stronger.”