Baggies bidding for historic win against Reading on Saturday
STEVE Clarke is hoping to keep Hawthorns regulars smiling as Albion bid to keep their 100 per cent Barclays Premier League home record intact against Reading on Saturday (ko 3pm).
It has been a staggering 58 years since the Baggies last won their opening three top-flight games at the Black Country venue.
Albion, who have already beaten Liverpool and Everton at home, were often frustrated at The Hawthorns last term and went three months without a win at B71 between November and February.
But Clarke is looking to reward the Baggies' loyal support with a healthy points return on their own patch this season.
“Not everybody is lucky enough to be able to travel to all the away games so for the ones that pay for their season tickets at The Hawthorns, it’s important we give them something to enjoy and cheer about,” said Clarke.
“I spoke about that before I started the job.
"I want to try to give the supporters something to talk about as they’re going home on a Saturday.
“Any club would look to have strong performances at home.
“I don’t know why but it seems to be that most teams do better at home than they do away.
“The grass and pitches are the same but it’s obviously psychological.
"You’ve got the crowd behind you and feel a little bit more confident.”
Clarke has called on his players to adopt the same winning mentality shown in victories over Liverpool and Everton against newly-promoted Reading.
“People might look at this game and think we’re the favourites to win it, which we probably will be if you go down to the bookmakers," he added.
"That's just another pressure we have to handle.
“It certainly doesn’t faze me that we’ve got that pressure and it shouldn’t faze the players.
“It is a different kind of pressure - but there is always pressure in the Premier League.
“You can play a so-called bigger team at home and if you don’t rise to the pressure of playing against them, you can struggle the same."