Club News

Clarke: Villa game was always 'massive'

Baggies boss insists local pride alone gives Hawthorns clash extra importance

STEVE Clarke insists Saturday’s derby clash with Villa (ko 5.30pm) was always going to be a ‘massive’ game regardless of what goes before it.

The seventh-placed Baggies will be looking to end a run of three successive Barclays Premier League defeats, while Paul Lambert’s side are languishing in the bottom three after 22 games.

But Clarke says local pride alone is what makes The Hawthorns encounter so important after it finished honours even at Villa Park in September.

“It won’t be any bigger than it was going to be anyway,” said the Albion boss.

“It’s a massive game.

“It’s big for the club, it’s big for the supporters and it’s big for the players.

“We want to do well, we want to win it.”

Clarke remains level-headed after Tuesday night’s undeserved FA Cup exit at the hands of QPR.

And he believes his men simply need a change in fortunes to get back to winning ways.

“I try to keep on an even keel,” he added.

“When I’m watching the games the team are trying and trying to do the right things.

“We created a number of chances against QPR that on another night could have gone in.

“It’s just not quite happening for us at the moment but we’ll work even harder to make sure it does start to happen again.

“Maybe earlier in the season we carried a bit of luck.

“Just now things aren’t going for us but the mood here is reasonably positive.

“We know we’re not in a great moment, we know we’re not in a good run of form.

“But, if we keep working hard on the training pitch, and keep putting the effort in, it will turn for us.

“We’ve got no doubt about that because we’ve got too many good players here.”