Boss must decide whether to field new boys in cup tie
STEVE Clarke will give Newport County AFC the respect they deserve tomorrow (ko 8pm) – as he weighs up whether to blood new signings Scott Sinclair, Diego Lugano and Matej Vydra.
Last season’s Conference play-off winners have already caused a Capital One Cup upset, winning at Championship outfit Brighton in the previous round.
And the Welsh club have also made an impressive start to life in League Two, with Saturday’s draw at Dagenham & Redbridge moving them up to sixth spot.
Clarke has suggested he will make changes for tomorrow’s second-round tie at The Hawthorns.
Lugano and Sinclair are both short of game time while Vydra has yet to start for his new club.
“I've got players who need to play,” reflected Clarke, who steered the team to an impressive draw at last season’s sixth-placed club Everton on Saturday.
“We will regroup, look at the injuries, look at the freshness of the players and make a decision on the team.
“It will be a difficult game tomorrow.
“Newport got a great result in the first round – going to Brighton and winning is fantastic. Winning there is not easy.
“They're a team who have just won promotion, so are used to success.
“We won't underestimate them.
“No matter how many changes I may or may not make, the team will hopefully be strong enough to go through.”
Clarke will also have a clearer picture today over his goalkeeping options for Albion’s first-ever cup tie with Newport.
Ben Foster is ruled out as he awaits a scan on the foot injury he suffered at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Luke Daniels impressed after replacing the England man in the closing stages while Foster’s usual understudy, Boaz Myhill, is expected to resume training today after a wrist injury.
Clarke says he will have full confidence in whoever he throws the gloves to.
“Boaz has been a great deputy,” added the head coach.
“We used him a lot last year when Ben was injured and we expect him to train today.
“Whether he'll be ready for tomorrow, we don't know.
“Luke Daniels is also a more than capable goalkeeper.
“He's not had many opportunities here but he works well with the other two and he did well on Saturday.
“If Luke has to play tomorrow, then no problem.”