Club News

Late goals don't concern Clarke

But Baggies boss wary of Saints' attacking threat

STEVE Clarke insists he has no cause for concern over the last-gasp strikes that have defeated Albion in their last two games - after analysing both goals closely.

The Hawthorns boss is preparing his side to take on bottom-of-the-table Southampton in front of the live TV cameras tonight (ko 8pm), with the top-six in their sights.

And he has no fears about the Baggies being susceptible to conceding late in games after studying video footage of the closing stages of the Manchester City and Newcastle clashes.

“If we had conceded the same way in both games I would have changed it completely,” said Clarke.

“But the two goals were completely different.

“I have watched the last 20 minutes of the game at Newcastle three times to see if there was something we did or didn’t do that I would relate to the previous week.

“The previous week we got done on a counter-attack from a set-play but in the game at Newcastle everybody was in position.

“I was watching when we got corners and free-kicks late in the game and we always had a number of people behind the ball.

“I could see the players organising themselves and pulling themselves into position, so it was just an unfortunate break.

“It won’t affect the players’ confidence one bit.

“Aside from the results the players are in a really good place and hopefully tonight we will put the results right as well.”

The Albion chief expects the Saints to come out playing football despite their lowly league position.

And the statistics show they pose a strong attacking threat, boasting the second-best goalscoring record outside the top seven.

“When you’ve got players that want to play football you have to play, and Nigel [Adkins] has,” added Clarke.

“He’s got good footballers in his squad.

“You have to play football. It’s admirable that they want to play football and some of the performances this season have been really good.

“They are a team that we cannot take lightly because they have good players who can hurt you.”