Club News

Clarke out to 'Stoke' another run

And boss says Pulis' Potters have more about them than people think

STEVE Clarke insists it has been a November to remember for the Baggies – and has faith his players can start December by getting back to winning ways against Stoke tomorrow (ko 3pm).

Albion picked up an impressive 12 points from a possible 15 in the last 30 days to move up to fourth in the table.

The month finished on a flat note with a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Swansea on Wednesday.

But Clarke is refusing to overreact to the Liberty Stadium loss and hopes his troops bounce back immediately as they did with a 1-0 win over Reading at The Hawthorns in September after a below-par performance in a 3-0 reverse at Fulham.

“I’ve got no reason to have a go at these players; no reason whatsoever,” said the Baggies boss.

“We’re in a fantastic position and we’ve had a great season so far.

“We took 12 points out of 15 in November, which is a fantastic achievement for us – and we look forward to the month of December, which starts tomorrow against Stoke City.

“So, what would give me the excuse to have a go at them.

“There is no reason for it.”

He added: “We did bounce straight back after the Fulham game, which was a poor performance as well.

“We played Reading, which was a tough game, and we managed to win 1-0.

“And, if that’s the way it is tomorrow, I’d be delighted.

“But it’s another difficult game against Stoke in the Premier League.

“It’s always a hard game no matter who they play against; they always cause their opponents problems.

“But it’s a challenge for us and we look forward to it.”

Clarke has also moved quickly to dispel any myths about the range of problems tomorrow’s opponents can pose Albion.

And he believes a player he coached at Liverpool last season - Charlie Adam – has brought a different dimension to the Potters’ play this term.

“Stoke are a good team,” he said.

“There is a lot of nonsense gets talked about Stoke and about how they do this, how they play that way, how they play differently to everyone else - they don’t.

“They have their own style and their own way of playing – but they have good players.

“I think they’ve changed slightly the make-up of the team and the way they play is slightly different.

“Tony’s touched on it himself, in the fact he’s got Charlie in that little withdrawn striker position or No.10 position.

“It’s given them something different.

“I know Charlie well; I worked with him last season at Liverpool.

“He’s a terrific player and is always capable with his right or left foot on shots from everywhere.”

The Albion chief added: “They’ve been an established Premier League club now for a number of years.

“If you look at the quality of players in their squad, and the amount of money they’ve spent over the last couple of years bringing really good players to the club – Tony Pulis has done a great job.

“He deserves all the accolades he gets, and he gets plenty of them from people within the game, who understand the job he has done.

“But it’s my job to make sure my team puts a little dent in his team tomorrow.

“I know the record of the Albion against Stoke is not particularly good but the last game was a West Brom win – and that was away at Stoke, which is a really difficult place to win.

“So, we’ll look forward to the game tomorrow, which is at our home ground.”