Club News

Boss calls for calm heads

And Clarke hopes to reward loyal fans with derby glory

STEVE Clarke has called on his players to show calm heads in Sunday’s derby showdown at Villa (ko 4pm).

The 12 Barclays Premier League meetings between the two sides have produced five red cards and five penalties.

And, while the Baggies boss wants to see passion from his men, he insists they must also use their brains.

“It is going to be a frantic start, it is going to be passionate, and the crowd will be really involved,” said Clarke.

“It is important for the players to have a cool mind.

“You have to be passionate, put your foot in and make the tackles.

“But at the same time you have to have a cold mind and be ready to play the football.

“Probably the first team to put their foot on the ball and make some passes will be the team that gets the best start to the game.”

The fourth-placed Baggies will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing midweek Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Liverpool.

Meanwhile, 14th-placed Villa will be buoyed by their 4-2 extra-time win at Manchester City in the same competition - and Clarke believes Paul Lambert’s side are on an upward curve.

“We have to get over that disappointment,” the Hawthorns boss added.

“Villa had a great result. To go to the champions and win, was a big achievement, so they will come in with good confidence.

“We've had a good start and Villa have had an okay start.

“You can't say they've had a bad start.

“They've had enough decent results to show what Paul is trying to do there is starting to work.

“Their trend is up.

“I've watched a few of their videos leading into this match and you can see the team is starting to play the way Paul would like them to play.”

The Baggies will be backed by a 2,800 sell-out following at Villa Park and Clarke is no doubt just how much the derby means to them.

“I think having spoken to a few people around here maybe the older generation of West Brom fans think West Brom-Villa is a big, big derby,” he said.

“But let's face it, it is the only one there is going to be in the West Midlands in the Premier League this year and I'm looking forward to it.

“We want to win it, all our fans want to win and I'm sure Villa and their fans are the same - it's local bragging rights.

“I've been involved in the Merseyside and the Tyne-Wear derby so I understand the passion of the supporters.

“It is easy for me to sit here and say it is three points but it's not. It's a little bit more than three points when it's your local rivals.”