Club News

Clarke hoping for surprise

And boss provides update on injured players

STEVE Clarke has urged his players to make up for Saturday’s disappointing 3-2 defeat by Wigan by pulling off a surprise result at Manchester City tonight (ko 7.45pm).

The Hawthorns boss is expecting a tough task against whatever side Roberto Mancini chooses to put out four days ahead of their FA Cup final clash against the Latics.

And the Baggies will have to be at their best if they are to become only the fifth team this season to come away with points from the Etihad Stadium, where City have only lost once in 17 Barclays Premier League games.

“It’s a good game,” said Clarke.

“It’s the champions of last season and they will want to finish well.

“They always play well at home, they’re a good team and they have some fantastic players.

“It’s a challenge for us.

“The squad is a little bit stretched at the moment and I’ve had a good think about what I’m going to do tonight.

“I will get a team on the pitch that will go there and compete.

“Hopefully we’ll get a result that makes up for the disappointment of Saturday.”

He added: “They’ve got a squad of players that is packed full of internationals and quality.

“Whether Roberto chooses to play his full team in preparation for the final, or whether he chooses to make some changes, they will be a strong team.

“We are looking forward to what will be a difficult game.

“It’s a good game for us.

“There is no pressure on us going there, everybody expects us not to get a good result.

“But, inside our camp, we’re quite determined to make up for Saturday’s disappointment.”

The Albion chief expects James Morrison to be available to start after coming through the final 12 minutes on Saturday with no adverse reaction to the groin problem that prevented him training last week.

But Clarke says Chris Brunt (knee) and Goran Popov (calf) remain doubts and could both miss their third successive game.

“James will be fine,” he said.

“The risk with James on Saturday was to start him after missing the whole week with a groin injury.

“I decided not to do that.

“I gave him some minutes at the end and he looked fine.

“Brunt and Popov are still very doubtful and I’m not very confident I’ll have either of them back.”