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Clarke unmoved by WBA history chance

Steve Clarke is backing his West Bromwich Albion side to recover quickly from their first defeat of the season as they seek to emulate their distinguished predecessors from more than half a century ago.

Not for 58 years, when they were FA Cup holders and had just finished runners-up in the title race, have Albion started a season by winning three successive home league games in the top flight.

Saturday's visit of Reading gives them an inviting opportunity, though, to add to their conquests of Liverpool and Everton.

Clarke's men have lost 3-0 at Fulham since that notable Merseyside double but the Hawthorns head coach is expecting a favourable reaction.

"A lot of teams lose at Fulham," he said. "It's a defeat, part and parcel of football, and we move on. What do I want on Saturday? For us to win the game. If we play as we played in the previous two home games, hopefully that will enable us to get the result we want.

"We're a good team and it's still a good start but not an exceptional one. I'm not sure too many people were getting carried away here. Within our group, we knew we had had a good start but I always said there would be disappointing days and we have to deal with those.

"Some expectation comes from outside. We have to manage ours inside. We know what we should achieve and we have started well towards that objective.

"The next performance is the most important. History is great but we're not looking on the Reading game as a chance to set history. Just look to the three points. Little targets or records that the statisticians like to see are fine along the way but it's not at the forefront of our minds."

Former Royals striker Shane Long has already said he wukk bit be over-indulging in his celebrations if he adds this weekend to his three-goal tally in league and cup.

Long, who is waiting to learn who he has as a new colleague up front in the absence of the suspended Peter Odemwingie, netted in Albion's last home game and also won two penalties in the one before that.

"If he gets a hat-trick and doesn't celebrate them, I'll be delighted," Clarke added. "It's down to the individual what he does. If he leaves it to everyone else to jump around, that's fine."

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