Hughes backed by Clarke

  • Last Updated: October 5 2012, 14:09 BST

West Brom manager Steve Clarke is backing his former Chelsea team-mate Mark Hughes to revive QPR's fortunes in the long term.

Hughes: Backed by Clarke

Albion will be looking to win their fourth successive top-flight home game at the start of a campaign for the first time in 93 years when they take on Rangers on Saturday.

It is in stark contrast to Rangers, who revamped their squad this summer but are still searching for their first win of the campaign in the Premier League.

Clarke wants to ensure QPR, beaten 2-1 at home by West Ham on Monday, leave The Hawthorns empty-handed but has faith in Hughes to turn the west Londoners' current predicament around.

He said: "You go to a club, they invest in a number of players, sometimes it gels quickly, other times it takes a little bit longer.

"That is the case with QPR. They have got some really good players. It hasn't quite clicked for them.

"It is up to us to make sure this Saturday it doesn't click for them and they are still struggling going into the international break. That is our job.

"They need to turn their season around and we need to make sure we are 100 per cent at it and make sure it doesn't happen this weekend.

"It is a difficult situation for Mark Hughes. But he has got far more experience than me in terms of being a manager.

"I'm sure he has been in this position a couple of times before and he will know what to do - and he will know how to get his team out of it.

"There is expectation at every club. There is an expectation level at West Brom and it is something you've got to live with and deal with."

Baggies striker Peter Odemwingie will return after a three-match suspension after his sending-off at Fulham but there is no guarantee he will instantly return to the starting line-up.

Four-goal Shane Long and on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku have impressed in the absence of the Nigeria international.

Clarke said: "Peter is available again. He is in the squad. He has trained well. But Peter has had to sit on the sidelines for the last three games through his own fault.

"He accepts that, he accepted that at the time, and we just welcome him back to the squad.

"If and when he gets the chance to make amends, he is more than welcome to do that.

"But everyone has got to battle for their place. It has been like that since the start of the season.

"We have sat here on a number of occasions and spoken about the competition for places, how it gives me a headache.

"Nothing has changed, it is the same situation now and it is one that we relish."

Albion are lying in sixth position after collecting 11 points from their opening six games.

But Clarke insists: "We don't look on ourselves as a club in the top six. We're sixth in the table at the moment but it is very early in the season.

"A couple of negative results and you can quickly fall down the table.

"We don't look too much into where we are in the table. We look at the points total we have and we are reasonably satisfied with that.

"But it doesn't matter when you get your points and the lads turned around a poor start last season and ended up with 47 points.

"All that matters is that you try and keep a level of consistency in your performance that gives you great belief."

Right-back Billy Jones and skipper and midfielder Chris Brunt are ruled out with knee and hamstring injuries suffered during the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa last weekend.


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