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The Opposition View - West Brom

The Opposition View - West Brom
With big thanks to our friends over at Vital West Brom, we ask a few questions on his club. We ask how Steve Clarke is getting on in his first football management job, how former Royal Shane Long is settling in and his prediction for tomorrow.

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1) You have a good start under the reign of Steve Clarke so far, what did you think of his appointment at the time and have your feelings changed?

A lot of fans were unsure obviously because of his lack of experience as the top man, but I was quite excited to be fair. He has a point to prove, the way we are set up we need a head coach more than a traditional manager, so I always thought it could possibly be the perfect marriage where Clarke has the off pitch support to learn the head role properly, without jumping too far into the deep end like he would at other clubs. As for feelings now, I think it's working out perfectly, we are clearly going to have hiccups like Fulham along the way and I don't think anybody expects us to be where we are come the end of the season, but Clarke has shown he can set us up to win, now we see how he copes with a defeat.

2) Who are the player/s to look out for in your team that could cause us some problems on Saturday?

Difficult to pick out an individual really with how we play, but the obvious one with Odemwingie suspended will be the well known Shane Long. He'll no doubt want to score and get the victory so he can enjoy the moment of not celebrating because of what the club mean to him - he's just recently spoken very highly of you again, so it'll be a nice moment for him I imagine.

Outside of him, Romelu Lukaku has shown himself to be somewhat of a supersub lately, and he really does bring a different dimension to our attack with his size, so you might find him a handful.

3) What are your expectations for the season?

I'll be happy with midtable again to be honest. With the change of head coach, the introduction of new players who will take time to bed in, survival, and anywhere around midtable as further consolidation has to be the aim again this season. If we can have a decent cup run this time round, I think everyone at the club will be happy.

4) If you could add one more player to your team, who would it be and why?

I'm not 100% sure on who, but it would have been nice to see another experienced defender added to the ranks - especially somebody who had been eyed as Jonas Olsson's replacement as most assume he's moving on next season. We have squad cover, and Craig Dawson will be very good in time, but centre half is the only position I worry about if Olsson goes missing for a period of time.

5) If you could offload any player from your team, who would it be and why?

I honestly wouldn't offload anyone at the moment. There are a couple I can think of that could move on in January for example, depending on how the newbies settle in, but for now the depth and everyone could be useful.

6) I know Shane Long has become a bit of a fans favourite down at the Hawthorns, how has he done since he joined you from us?

Brilliantly really. Link up play, an eye for goal, a different option for us than your traditional type of striker. He was a fantastic signing, and has more than justified the fee really. The good thing about Long really is he's still learning, and there is room for further improvement.

7) How do you expect to line-up for the match?

I'd expect Gera to start in place of Odemwingie, but other than that I think we'll line up as we did against Fulham. I can see Clarke wanting and expecting the players to make up for that result, as opposed to making many changes.

8) What's your prediction for the game?

With Long returning, I imagined a 1-1 to begin with, but given our last result we'll be out for the victory, so I'm thinking 2-1. Will be tight though.

Writer:Josh
Date:Thursday September 20 2012
Time: 11:20PM

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