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Jan 4, 2013

Clarke feels boos were unjustified

Steve Clarke has rounded on the West Bromwich Albion fans who jeered his side in the New Year's Day defeat against Fulham.

• Blog: Abject start to year

West Bromwich Albion head coach Clarke has been wounded by the reaction of sections of the Hawthorn's crowd following the 2-1 loss to Martin Jol's side.

After guiding Albion to their best points total for the first half of a Premier League season and to within four points of the Champions League places, Clarke feels his team deserve better treatment from their supporters.

"I was disappointed with the crowd reaction. I don't think there is any reason for the crowd to have a go at us, especially at home," he said.

"Some weeks it just does not happen. That is the nature of football. We don't have a divine right to be better than the opposition.

"I understood the fans booing at half time, but not at full time, because we had a right good go in the second half. It was disappointing the crowd reacted the way they did."

Clarke and his players will be out of the critical eye of their own fans when they travel to Loftus Road for their FA Cup third-round tie against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

And he is promised to field a strong side against Harry Redknapp's Premier League strugglers, despite having a lengthy list of injury problems.

Jonas Olsson, Goran Popov, Steven Reid and Claudio Yacob are all doubtful, but Clarke added: "After four games in 11 days we have stacked up a few bumps and bruises. It is to be expected.

"It has been a difficult time, but the FA Cup is high on our list of priorities. We only entered three competitions at the start of the season and we went out of one of them (Capital One Cup) early.

"We want to stay in the FA Cup as long as possible and we will put out as strong a team as we can. I have had some good times in the competition as a coach and I would like to continue that.

"QPR will be buoyed by their great result against Chelsea, but their priority is to stay in the Premier League and we are a little more comfortable."

Clarke has dismissed reports that Peter Odemwingie and Olsson could leave the club during the January window.

Newcastle have been linked with Odemwingie as a replacement for Demba Ba, while Turkish club Fenerbahce have been reported to be lining up a £3 million offer for Olsson.

"I am confident that none of the players we want to keep at the club will be leaving in the transfer window," said Clarke.

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