Club News

Clarke sets staff puzzler to solve

Boss admits disappointing January remains mystery after getting back on track

STEVE Clarke has revealed he has set his staff the task of solving Albion’s January puzzler.

The Hawthorns boss takes his troops to Stoke tomorrow (ko 3pm) sitting nicely in eighth spot in the Barclays Premier League.

But he admits it could have been even better for the Baggies had they not suffered a miserable opening month to 2013, where they took just one point from a possible 12.

Clarke remains bemused by the New Year slump and is eager to pin down the causes after seeing his men get back on track with three wins in five games.

“Everybody dipped towards the end of December and into January for some reason,” he said.

“It’s something we’re still looking at and still trying to asses and find out why.

“I’m trying to forget about January for now.

“I’ve got the medical staff looking at it to see if they can dig up anything.

“I’ve got the fitness coach looking to see if he can pick up anything from the data he has for that month, just to see if there’s anything we can tie it down to.

“We’ll try and address it next season.

“It could be that some players are affected by the window coming up.

“There are many different factors we have to look at.

“I’ve already got an ambition for next January – to win a game that month!”

He added: “In January the biggest concern for me was that we had a good group of players, I knew we had a good group of players and we’d had a good first half of the season, and suddenly we’d stopped winning and I couldn’t find the solution.

“I couldn’t find why.

“I was looking at the games before Christmas and the games we were playing in and I didn’t see that much difference.

“I couldn’t see clearly – that was the only concern at that time.

“If you look at the season as a whole it is a big anomaly in the season – that one month.

“It’s a big hole in our season.

“If we hadn’t had that hole maybe it could have been a better season.

“So we have to address that.”