Head coach urges patience in battle for places
STEVE Clarke insists every member of his first-team squad will get an opportunity to prove themselves this season.
Competition is rife at The Hawthorns after the Baggies strengthened their options with six summer signings – affording the Albion chief a number of alternatives in most positions.
But he has made only two changes to his unbeaten Albion side this term with nine players starting all three Barclays Premier League fixtures.
And Clarke, who is currently preparing for Saturday's trip to Fulham (ko 3pm), has asked unused squad members to remain patient, with injuries and suspensions likely to cause selection headaches in the months ahead.
“Nobody has been banging on my door yet, so it’s so far, so good,” he said.
“If the team is performing well and getting results then the players not in the team will be disappointed - but they’re not stupid.
“They understand they have to wait for their chance - and their chance will come because it’s a long season.
“I’ve spoken to all of them and I’m confident they will all be involved in a significant part of the season.
“Over the course of the season you get injuries, illness and suspensions and loss of form, so there will always be a place for them in the team and they have to trust me just now as I tell them that.
“Hopefully at the end of the season we can look back and I can say ‘I was right’.
“I understand what players want.
“I understand they all want to play but if you treat them properly and still give them good work on the training pitch they appreciate that and they realise they have to wait for their opportunity, and when it comes they have to be ready to take it.
“The problem comes if players don’t work hard enough in training, then you ask them to play and they’re not prepared.
“The players have a duty to themselves to make sure they’re prepared to take their chance when it comes.”