Joint-assistant head coach 'excited' by Arsenal cup clash
KEVIN Keen has issued a rallying cry ahead of tomorrow’s Capital One Cup tie with Arsenal (ko 8pm) urging the players to ‘make the fans’ dream come true’.
And, after beating League Two Newport 3-0 in the previous round, the joint-assistant head coach is determined to make amends for last season’s cup disappointments.
The Baggies suffered third-round exits in the League Cup and FA Cup at home to Liverpool and QPR respectively.
And he is hoping to make it a night to remember at The Hawthorns against Arsene Wenger's men.
“For West Brom a cup run would be fantastic – for the supporters more than anything,” said Keen.
“I think if you ask the Swansea supporters or the Wigan supporters; to appear in Wembley cup finals is a dream come true.
“So, I think for the supporters of West Brom any sort of cup run would be great and certainly getting anywhere near the final rounds can make a season really exciting.
"Losing to QPR last season in the FA Cup and to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup was really disappointing and we want to have a real crack at it.
"We will have a real go and we want to win things for the supporters.
"They want us to play in semi-finals and go to Wembley and the players want to be remembered for winning things."
He added: “I think it’s a fantastic game.
“Arsenal are perhaps under a bit of pressure because they've not won a major trophy for a while.
“I think it's a good draw for us because the crowd will get behind us, Arsenal will bring a few supporters – and it will be a good atmosphere and good game.
“The atmosphere in the camp has been a little bit better since the weekend win than in previous weeks.
“We hadn't played that well at home against Southampton and Swansea, we didn't do ourselves justice.
“So, to go out on Saturday and not just win but play well and get supporters on the edge of their seats a few times with some of our football, wasn't just a relief but, going forward, I think will have the supporters saying ‘yeah, I think we can do well this season’.”
Keen himself won the League Cup as a coach with Liverpool in 2012 and twice reached the semi-finals as a player with West Ham – losing to Luton and Oldham.
And, while Steve Clarke is set to make changes for the Hawthorns clash, he insists the Baggies’ team to face the Gunners will be packed full of internationals.
“Arsenal have always had really talented young players coming through and it doesn't weaken them that much if they play some of them against us," he said.
“They may do that.
“We have a really strong squad at the moment, with only two or three injuries.
“We have international players who have been on our bench who need games so I think Steve will be looking to change a few of those.
“Does it weaken our team? I’m not sure it does, because we have some really talented players ready to come in if Steve decides to do that.”