West Ham vs West Brom preview: Baggies coach Steve Clarke says Sam Allardyce deserves a new contract at Upton Park


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The Independent Football

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke insists his side still have plenty to play for during the next two months and will not allow the season to fizzle out.

The Baggies are assured of a fourth successive season of Barclays Premier League football and have only a remote chance of securing a Europa League spot.

But Clarke is adamant his players will not rest on their laurels ahead of tomorrow's encounter with West Ham at Upton Park.

Former West Ham number two Clarke said: "We are professional, we want to finish as high as we can with as many points as we can.

"The next target for us is to get more points than we did in the last two seasons which is 47.

"If we win at the weekend we will equal that, and it will give us seven games to better it.

"For anyone to question our commitment or our desire to do well for the last eight games is wrong."

Clarke believes the Hammers are starting to see the best of Joe Cole whom he worked with when assistant-boss of Chelsea and Liverpool.

Cole returned to the Hammers in January after a loan spell last season with Lille.

Clarke said: "I think Joe has had a great career. Good boy, good to work with. Worked with him at Chelsea, he was good.

"We had a very brief spell together at Liverpool where it was difficult for Joe. He wasn't at his best.

"He took a year out at France. I think it went very well for him over there.

"He's come back, he has gone home to West Ham. From what I have seen of him in recent games, he's played well.

"He looks comfortable in the team and understands his role in the team. He will be a difficult opponent but one of many they can put on the pitch."

Clarke added: "I was a little bit surprised it didn't work out for him at Liverpool. When you have got that talent, you hope it is going to work out for you.

"He is not the first player to make a move and it has not worked out for. I think he has bounced back well."

Clarke, who worked under Gianfranco Zola at Upton Park, believes current manager Sam Allardyce deserves a new contract.

He said: "I enjoyed my time at West Ham. It was good. The second season was difficult. I learned a lot.

"It stood me in good stead for the job I am doing here.

"As for Sam, he always does a good job. Wherever he goes, he gets his teams playing the way he wants them to play and gets good results.

"Should he get a new contract? I would think so, but you would have to ask the West Ham owners."

Clarke confirmed striker Peter Odemwingie will be part of the squad against West Ham despite his latest round of Twitter attacks against the Baggies which are being investigated internally.

Midfielder James Morrison is West Brom's major fresh injury concern.

He suffered a hamstring injury during the goalless draw against Stoke a fortnight ago and was forced to withdraw from international duty with Scotland.