Club News

Clarke set to ring changes

And boss expects QPR to come out fighting in Boxing Day clash

STEVE Clarke admits he could make changes for today’s clash at struggling QPR as he looks to share the festive workload among his players.

The Baggies’ 2-1 victory over in-form Norwich was the first of four games in ten days, with a trip to Manchester United on Saturday and a New Year’s Day home fixture with Fulham to follow the Boxing Day visit to Loftus Road.

Clarke is uncertain whether Claudio Yacob (hamstring) and Steven Reid (shin) will be available to face Rangers but Youssouf Mulumbu is available for selection again after serving a one-match ban against the Canaries.

“Over the next three or four games, there will be rotation,” said the Albion boss.

“I've shown before that when we play three games in a short period of time I try to utilise the whole squad.

“It's certainly something we will be thinking about doing over the next few games.

“Hopefully this is where the strength of your squad shows.

“I used players in the previous game that I hadn’t used for a number of weeks and they came in and did their job.

“I’ve got no doubts that if I do make some changes for the game that the players I put in will perform as well as they have done in the past.”

Clarke says he is surprised to see the big-spending R’s languishing in 19th place, five points off safety after 18 games.

But he expects their first victory of the season over Fulham last time out on home soil to have boosted their confidence heading into today’s encounter.

And he insists new boss Harry Redknapp has already made them tougher to beat, with their narrow 1-0 defeat at Newcastle the first of his five-game reign.

“I think it's a surprise to most people in football that QPR are where they are,” he added.

“They made a significant investment during the summer in a number of players.

“But Harry has gone in there and they managed to get their first win.

“We are playing them on the back of that first home win.

“They lost narrowly at Newcastle, which is understandable because it’s a difficult place to go.

“They will be buoyed by the fact they won their previous home game.

“We will need to be at our best to get anything out of the game.

“Harry has been in charge for five matches.

“They’ve only lost the last one, which was a difficult away one at St James’ Park.

“He's managed to get a first win on the board.

“That would have been a big psychological barrier for them.

“We have to go there and make sure we’re strong mentally and up for the fight because they are fighting for their lives.

“We have to impose our style of football on them and hopefully get another positive result.”