Club News

Clarke: Rom's on the rise

But head coach expects striker to be practising penalties this week

STEVE Clarke says Romelu Lukaku continues to improve after he produced another match-winning performance in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over in-form Swansea.

The 19-year-old striker took his season’s tally to 13 with the leveller against the Swans to become the outright sixth highest scorer in the top-flight this term.

And the on-loan Chelsea man could become only the second-ever Baggies player to score in four successive Barclays Premier League games if he finds the back of the net at Stoke on Saturday (ko 3pm) - following Peter Odemwingie's five in a row two season's ago.

“He's improving all the time,” said Clarke. 

“It's good for him, which is why he came here, and it's been good for us because he's made a big contribution and it will be good for Chelsea in the future.”

Lukaku could have moved onto 14 goals for the campaign - and gone within one of City’s Michu and Chelsea’s Demba Ba in joint-fourth - had Michel Vorm not saved his 57th-minute penalty.

And Clarke says the dedicated forward will no doubt practice spot-kicks after training this week – revealing there is no guarantee he will take Albion’s next penalty. 

“Knowing Rom, he'll be practising penalties all week now,” added Clarke. 

“He might not get the next one. 

“We've got one or two players who are ready to step in.”

The Baggies have only won one of their last 12 clashes with the Potters – but that victory came on their last visit to the Britannia Stadium last term.

And the Hawthorns boss hopes his in-form eighth-placed side can emulate that achievement against their 11th-placed Midlands neighbours, who are ten points behind them in the table.

“They’ve been a bogey team for us so hopefully we can go there and get a positive result,” he said.

“We’ll just keep going from game to game.”