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Mar 7, 2013

Clarke wants final push from West Brom

Steve Clarke has demanded to see more from his West Bromwich Albion side over the final two months of the season - starting with Saturday's visit of Swansea City.

• Blog: Hoodoos, mistakes, positives

The Hawthorns head coach believes there is much in common between the Baggies and the newly-crowned Capital One Cup winners Swansea.

However, Clarke says that the Welsh club are one up on them with the silverware they have captured, not to mention the performance they produced in the autumn clash between the sides at the Liberty Stadium earlier this season.

"Swansea have had a great season and we've been pretty much neck and neck with them," Clarke said. "They have also put a cup run together which we hoped to do but couldn't. They have been getting all the headlines because they have won one of the few domestic trophies on offer. That's what we have to aim for at Albion.

"I was hoping we could get to 40 points earlier than we have. With a reasonable run, we can still make 50 points - hopefully a few more than that and even towards 60 - although it's probably too much to hope we can get into the European positions.

"If it ended for Swansea tomorrow, it would still have been a fantastic season for them. They can sometimes be very easy on the eye. The 30 minutes they produced down there in the autumn against us was the best of any team against us this season and the best 30 minutes I've seen in the Premier League for many years. It was a bit of a tonking and we hope to put it right on Saturday.

"But I don't think the three defeats we have had against them in the Premier League makes them a bogey team. That's something you can only say after seven, eight and nine games."

Albion will have the in-form Romelu Lukaku available for the weekend after he was ineligible to face his parent club Chelsea last Saturday.

And the timing of the Belgium international's return is vital, with his strike partner Shane Long struggling to overcome the ankle injury he aggravated in training on Tuesday.

Long has not yet been ruled out but the trip to Stoke a week on Saturday, followed by international duty with Ireland the following week, looks a more realistic target.

Skipper Chris Brunt is ready to return after being deemed unfit for the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Clarke, meanwhile, revealed he has had contact this week with his former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

"I sent him a good-luck text [before the Manchester United v Real Madrid second leg] and said that, although the world would be watching, I wouldn't be because I was going to a Championship game [Leicester v Leeds]," he said.

"I had to re-wind the video when I heard that about the best team having lost! Look at his track record and Manchester United is one of the clubs he could manage at."

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