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Clarke prepared to experiment

25 July 2012

Changes expected for tonight's trip to Copenhagen

STEVE Clarke insists he will continue to experiment with his starting line-up ahead of Albion’s pre-season friendly with FC Copenhagen this evening (ko 6pm BST/7pm local time).

The Baggies head coach could make several changes for Albion’s trip to Parken later today, with his squad bolstered by the arrival of Jerome Thomas and George Thorne in Scandinavia while Ben Foster, Shane Long, Jonas Olsson, Simon Cox and Zoltan Gera all sat out last Thursday’s tour opener against Malmo. 

And the 48-year-old Scot also plans to tinker with his formation throughout pre-season as he prepares for the forthcoming Barclays Premier League campaign. 

“You’ve got to look at the players you've got available and you also have to look at the opposition,” he said.

“Then you have to weigh up what's best for your team against certain opposition and then decide what best suits you in terms of the personnel you have. 

“We knew Malmo would play 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 and Copenhagen will probably play something similar but I want to see our shape and players to see how they fit certain systems.

“There will be certain games this year where you want to play two strikers, there will be some games you want to play three up front or games where you might only play a 4-5-1 to try to nick a goal. 

“You have to be solid as well or you can be punished in the Premier League. 

“You have to be prepared for all eventualities. 

“We've got the players working well in terms of fitness and shape of the team. 

“We played one way against Malmo and we will try something slightly different against Copenhagen tonight."

Clarke is impressed with the hunger his players have shown during the two-and-a-half weeks he has been working with them.     

“I've been really, really pleased with them," he added.

“You can see why they've been successful. 

“They work well with each other and there are lots of strong characters in the group and I get the feeling they want to be successful too. 

“It's ideal for me because I want the same.”

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