Steve Clarke backs Romelu Lukaku to fire for West Brom


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The Independent Football

West Brom boss Steve Clarke has hailed on loan striker Romelu Lukaku as a “big talent” and is backing him to become more clinical in front of goal.

Lukaku has joined the Baggies on a season-long loan from Chelsea - although the Blues have the right to recall him should they desire in January.

He has made a big impression during Albion's impressive start to the campaign but was guilty of spurning a couple of gilt-edged chances during last week's injury-time defeat at Newcastle.

Clarke is convinced his finishing will improve with experience ahead of tonight's home Barclays Premier League clash with Southampton.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea number two said: "I know Romelu is in a good place and he's happy.

"I know he's in a much better place now than he was when he came here at the start of the season because he's had minutes in the Premier League.

"He's played matches, he's been a handful and he's shown everybody that he's a big talent and one for the future, so I know he's happy.

"He has done well, he's got his goals. We can talk about the two chances he missed last week but he made good runs to get into those positions.

"If he got into those positions again, he would score. He's a goalscorer. He didn't hide when he could have hidden."

Clarke added: "I think you accept with every striker that they will get into goalscoring positions and some weeks they will score them all and some weeks they won't.

"You just have to accept that as part of the game.

"He's young, he's raw, he's got to develop and he's got to learn how to deal with those one-on-ones, how to handle them and how to find a way past the goalkeeper but he will do that for sure.

"He works well on the training ground and he wants to be better, which is fantastic. There is no reason why his head should drop."

Meanwhile defender Jonas Olsson is convinced West Brom will find the ideal replacement for technical director Dan Ashworth who will take up a similar role with the Football Association next summer.

Ashworth has played a major role in recruiting West Brom's recent managers and key signings such as Peter Odemwingie, Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob.

Olsson said: "You have to take your hat off to Dan. He's been doing a great job here. I've got only good things to say about him. He will leave a big space to fill.

"I have faith in the club that they will find the right man to replace him.

"Recruitment at the club, whether it's players, staff, or coaches, has been brilliant. I'm sure they will find the right man."