Clarke plans summer spending

West Brom boss Steve Clarke believes January reinforcements may be needed next season to avoid another mid-season slump.

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Steve Clarke: Believes January signings

Steve Clarke: Believes January signings

West Brom boss Steve Clarke believes January reinforcements may be needed next season if Albion are to avoid another mid-season slump.

After collecting seven points from their first three games against Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton, this always looked likely to be an excellent season for the Baggies.

At one point they appeared genuine contenders for a European slot before they began to slither down the table, and they head into Saturday's encounter with Newcastle having collected just four points from their last five games.

Yet they remain on track for their highest league finish since 1981.

And, given the strength of the sides in front of them, it may be as much as any West Brom team can reasonably expect.

"If you look at what happened to us this year then no, it's probably not realistic to sustain it over a full season," Clarke said.

"It's something we have to look at. The fact is we had a really strong start and then we tailed off.

"I mentioned some weeks ago we have to look at why, in the middle block of the season, the club had a dip, in this year and previous ones."

Finding a solution to those mid-season slumps will be Clarke's priority number one for the summer.

An answer may be found in the policy of Saturday's visitors, who beefed up their squad, although are still not clear of relegation strife.

"Maybe we need to do what Newcastle did - go into the window, bring in a couple of new faces and freshen it up," said Clarke.

"All those things are up for discussion."

Yet Clarke knows he must work to a budget.

And those funds may not extend to a mid-season spending spree.

"It's more difficult if you are not throwing money at it," he said.

"What we try to do is spend wisely and bring in players who will complement the group already here.

"It's a case of building slowly, not going out and signing five, six or seven players on big money to make us better.

"That is not going to happen.

"I would imagine we'll bring two, three, four or five players for modest fees, but they players will be good enough to improve what we have here."

Though West Brom are unlikely to haul back six points on seventh-placed Liverpool, they are looking to keep their noses in front of Swansea and Fulham, who also look set to clinch spots in the top half of the table.

They will have to try and do it this weekend without Peter Odemwingie, though, after the striker picked up a knee injury.


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