Club News

Clarke: Season starts after break

Boss to issue rallying call ahead of champion's visit

STEVE Clarke has revealed his message to the players once the current international break is over will be: “The season starts now.”

The Baggies currently lie in sixth place in the Barclays Premier League after taking 14 points from their opening seven games.

But Clarke believes the next game against champions Manchester City on Saturday week (ko 3pm) kicks off a spell building up to the turn of the year when the campaign will start taking shape.

“I think we are where we are,” said the Hawthorns boss.

“We don't need to be tested.

“We've had a good start and proved we can stand up to anyone at The Hawthorns - and we hope to do that against Manchester City.

“My opinion is the season starts after this international break.

“This is the juncture where you fight for position and the next run of game takes you into November and December where the season really takes shape and you have a run of tough matches.”

Clarke has enjoyed an astonishing start in his first head coach’s role, losing only once.

But he insists it is far from easy and has welcomed the pause in top-flight proceedings, as international action takes centre stage, so he and the players not away with their countries can recharge the batteries.

“When you're standing there on the side of the pitch you're never comfortable - but I am pleased with the start," he added.

“The players have a couple of days off to rest and recover then we will do some work and they'll get a break at the weekend.

“We will make sure we're ready for the visit of the champions.

“This weekend I have a family weekend and maybe I'll get 24 hours where I can switch off a little bit.”