Clarke hopes strike is just a start

  • Last Updated: September 18 2013, 16:56 BST

West Brom manager Steve Clarke hopes "the floodgates will open" after Gareth McAuley's injury-time equaliser against Fulham finally broke Albion's goalscoring duck.

Steve Clarke: Hoping for more goals ahead of Sunderland match
Steve Clarke: Hoping for more goals ahead of Sunderland match

The Baggies drew blanks in their opening three games and registered just a point to leave them bottom of the early table.

Clarke's men appeared to be heading for similar frustration at Craven Cottage on Saturday before defender McAuley powered home a header from Chris Brunt's corner to snatch a deserved point.

With the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Scott Sinclair, Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe arriving this summer, there is plenty of firepower in the West Brom ranks and Clarke hopes McAuley's goal can kick-start Albion's season.

"I think for the team it was just a goal that was deserved on the balance of play," he said ahead of Saturday's clash with Sunderland.

"In the second half we were on the front foot and created two or three chances in open play.

"We had to wait a long time for our first goal of the season but now it's arrived, hopefully the floodgates will open."

He added: "Victor played last week at Craven Cottage and as you saw, he's big, strong and powerful and can hold the ball up well for us. "That's something we didn't have in the team going into the season.

"Stephane is quick and lively, he's direct and likes to take people on, he's a dribbler and an entertainer and hopefully he gets many chances here to entertain the crowd.

"All the signings over the summer have intensified and boosted the squad. Training has been good over the last couple of weeks and hopefully we'll start to see results on the pitch."

Clarke was asked by reporters for his thoughts about reports a pensioner missed out on a £1million windfall from a bookmakers after McAuley's 92nd-minute header spoilt his accumulator.

"I didn't hear about it. Is this on football betting? If it's football betting I can't comment because we're not allowed to bet," he quipped. "It wasn't me!

"Listen, it's unfortunate for that gentleman but we were delighted with the goal and delighted with the point."

Clarke admits their form so far has not been up to scratch but fully expects things to improve.

"I'm not where I want to be," he said. "I want to be further up the league and have more points and scoring more goals. But I think we're moving in the right direction.

"I said to the players before the Fulham game that I wanted a better performance than the previous game, which was a poor one against Swansea. And last week was better.

"Slowly, slowly, the team will improve throughout the season."


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