West Brom fired up for Fulham clash
West Bromwich Albion's players have been urged to use their early-season embarrassment at Fulham as motivation when the sides clash again in the first Premier League fixture of 2013.
Albion's 3-0 defeat at Craven Cottage in September was a rare blemish during an outstanding start under Steve Clarke that had already brought emphatic home victories over Liverpool and Everton.
The sending-off of Peter Odemwingie was a factor in their nosedive in West London but Clarke wants his players to remember the pain of the defeat.
"We have to bear in mind that earlier this season, they turned us over," the Hawthorns head coach said.
"They were one of the few sides who really beat us and beat us comfortably. It is a little bit surprising to see where they are in the table but I'm sure they'll look back on their performance against us and hope they can replicate that and move back up.
"I will remind the players of how poorly we played in that game. But I will also remind them of how well we've done this year. If we can show the home form we've shown this season, I'm sure we can start the New Year off with a positive result."
Clarke has former Fulham forward Zoltan Gera fit and challenging for a recall after he was rested for Saturday's defeat at Manchester United.
But he will make late checks on a number of other players before deciding on his line-up for the game against the side managed by one-time Albion hard-man Martin Jol.
As for a resolution for 2013, the head coach is refusing to be swayed from the stance he has adopted since being appointed in the summer as Roy Hodgson's successor.
"Three weeks ago, people were telling us we couldn't score a goal and we couldn't win a game," he added.
"We had lost three in a row and didn't score for five hours, so, in this game, things can turn very quickly. We still have seven points to get before we get to our first target (40 points).
"It would be remiss of us to get ahead of ourselves now having played it down all season. We need to make sure we get to that target. The second target - if you want to go back to my very first press conference - it was to achieve 50 points.
"First, we will try to get to 40, then 50. But first I want three points against Fulham."