And joint-No.2 pays tribute to man who provides FA Cup third-round obstacleKEVIN Keen has set his sights on recreating the ‘unbeatable feeling’ of reaching an FA Cup final knowing his former coach provides the first hurdle in tomorrow’s third-round replay with QPR (ko 8pm).
Steve Clarke’s joint-No.2 played under now-Rangers boss Harry Redknapp when he was Billy Bonds’ assistant at West Ham in the early 90s.
And he believes Redknapp has already turned the relegation-threatened Hoops into a more potent force since taking over at the end of November.
But Keen is hoping Albion can get past the R’s at the second attempt and begin a march on Wembley, where he enjoyed last season’s final as a coach with Liverpool.
“QPR are a different team under Harry,” he said.
“They are a lot more organised and I think they’re a bigger threat.
“It will be interesting to see what team he puts out and whether he puts out a bit of a mixture.
“I think they’ll come and have a go and play.
“I think any team that’s playing in the FA Cup will come and have a go and will want to progress.
“They’ve not got European competition, similar to ourselves, so it’s not like they have a load of games coming up.
“I’ve been at clubs that have been down the bottom and sometimes playing in the cup is a refreshing change.
“Players play with a little bit more freedom rather than with the pressure of relegation.
“I think they will come and have a go – and certainly we’re up for it.”
He added: “Harry’s a great character, a fantastic motivator.
“He’s got a really good eye for a player and is a really down to earth football person.
“He is someone you want to run around and do your best for.
“He loves football and attacking football.
“He is extremely passionate and I think he can keep them up.”
Despite watching the Reds lose 2-1 to Chelsea in the final last year, Keen described it as one of the best days of his life - and hopes he can bring similar joy to Baggies supporters.
“For me, having worked 29 years in football and never got to Wembley, to get to an FA Cup final and the League Cup final as well was a tremendous achievement,” he said.
“I’m proud to have worked with Kenny [Dalglish] and Steve to get their last year – it was one of the best days of my life.
“Even though we ended up losing, to get to a Wembley cup final for the way the supporters react alone and the atmosphere is unbeatable.
“And we’ll be going all out tomorrow to try and get that feeling for the West Brom fans.
“Even though it’s only the third round, if you can all of a sudden get to the fifth and sixth rounds the excitement builds.
“It’s a long time since this club has had major success and that’s what we’ll be trying to give the supporters.”