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West Brom V Everton at The Hawthorns : Match Preview
Published : 01 Sep 2012 09:20:14
West Brom boss Steve Clarke has challenged his players to 'put a little dent' into the euphoria surrounding Everton after their 100 per cent start to the campaign.
David Moyes' side will be bidding for a third successive win in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Albion after overcoming Manchester United and Aston Villa. But Clarke wants The Hawthorns to become a fortress and believes the Baggies can also approach the game with confidence after collecting four points from their opening two games. Clarke said: "David Moyes has been Everton manager for a long time and he has made some really astute signings over the last six or seven months.
"The Everton team is stronger than it was at this stage last season and I'm sure they are looking forward to this season with a lot of optimism. "They had a great first performance at home to Manchester United and controlled the game really well at Aston Villa.
"They will be one of the teams who realistically can look to challenge towards the top six this year.
"But it is up to us to make sure we put a little dent in that optimism in the game at the weekend.
"The players are confident. It has been a good start. We don't fear anyone. We respect everyone but we don't fear anyone.
"We expect a difficult game but I'm sure Moyes and his boys will be expecting a difficult game as well. We hope that will be the case for all the teams coming here, that they know it is going to be a difficult afternoon."
Clarke will check on the fitness of several key players before finalising his side to face the Toffees. Steven Reid, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell, James Morrison, Graham Dorrans, Jerome Thomas, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku all missed the midweek Capital One Cup tie at Yeovil. Four of the eight returned to training on Thursday although Clarke is keeping his cards close to his chest as to who will be available.
Everton assistant boss Steve Round has been delighted to see Clarke make a good start to his management career with The Hawthorns.
"I'm really pleased for him," Round said. "From a number two's perspective, it's great to see somebody coming through and establishing themselves as a manager. "We have got some very good managers in lower leagues and very good coaches and number twos in this country, and for them to get opportunities in the Premier League, I think it's great.
"We are not just going overseas for a foreign solution and obviously apart from tomorrow, I wish him well and I hope he does great this season."
Moyes has a fully-fit squad to select from. Phil Neville is available despite having to come off towards the end of Wednesday night's Capital One Cup second-round victory over Leyton Orient with a hamstring problem, as is defender Tony Hibbert, who has missed the last two games with a neck injury.
West Brom V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.