x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Clarke defends West Brom rotation policy despite loss of form

The Hawthorns coach backs his team selections as West Ham captain Kevin Nolan looks to burst the Premier League side's bubble.

Steve Clarke praised the depth of his West Brom squad despite the Baggies having lost their last three league games.
Steve Clarke praised the depth of his West Brom squad despite the Baggies having lost their last three league games.

West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke has defended his decision to rotate his players and claims the policy is only coming under the microscope because of a current dip in fortunes.

Clarke has not been afraid to chop and change his line-ups since replacing Roy Hodgson as head coach during the summer as Albion climbed to third spot in the Premier League last month.

He has constantly praised the strength in depth of his playing staff and does not believe the changes have been a factor in successive defeats against Swansea City, Stoke City and Arsenal.

Clarke, whose side entertain West Ham United tonight, said: "The changes I've made only come up now as a topic because we are on the back of three defeats in a row.

"Since the start of the season I've continually made changes to the side. I've tweaked it as to how I feel it should be done from game to game. I'll continue to do that.

"I've got a squad of players I have to utilise and so far this season, I've utilised them quite well.

"But that's not credit to me, that's credit to the players who have come into the team."

Clarke may be forced into more changes for tonight's game at The Hawthorns, with goalkeeper Ben Foster (groin) midfielder Claudio Yacob (hamstring) and left-back Liam Ridgewell (ankle) giving cause for concern.

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan is hoping his side's trip to face West Brom has come at a good time, with the Baggies currently struggling for form.

The Hammers lost at home to Liverpool last weekend after beating European champions Chelsea the previous Saturday and Nolan wants to return to winning ways against West Brom.

"We are really looking forward to going there and matching them, because they are a fantastic side," he said. "We hope that their bubble has burst a bit and we can go there on Sunday and get a result. They will be a tough side to come up against, I don't think I have ever been involved in an easy game at The Hawthorns, but we go there with confidence."

West Ham were named as the preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium in London last week and Nolan said he thought the move from Upton Park could help the club progress on and off the pitch.

"I think, as a club, we can do the Olympic Stadium absolute justice," he said. "With our fans, we cannot only fill it but it will be fantastic for our club and for the whole of East London."


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