Club News

Clarke ready for 'fired up' Black Cats

Boss expecting Sunderland to be tough to break down

STEVE Clarke is preparing his troops to tomorrow (ko 3pm) face what he considers to be a more stubborn Sunderland team to the one Albion convincingly beat 4-2 in November.

The Baggies remain the only side to have fired four goals past the Black Cats this term thanks to strikes from Zoltan Gera, Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku, and Marc-Antoine Fortune at the Stadium of Light.

And Martin O’Neill’s 13th-placed men will arrive at The Hawthorns looking to put things right on the back of the joint-second best defensive record outside the top six.

“I don’t really look at doing a double over a team,” said Clarke.

“The trick in the Premier League is just to pick up points as and when you can.

“Our performance at Sunderland was really good so we’ve got good memories of playing against them, but in recent weeks they have tightened up a lot.

“They have started picking up good results and they are stronger defensively than maybe they were earlier in the season.

“They’re not letting so many goals in.

“We expect a really difficult challenge, which you always get when you play against a Martin O’Neill team, because they’re fired up to give 100 per cent every game.”