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Nov, 22, 2013

Clarke focused on points, not contract

Steve Clarke is more concerned with collecting points and solving West Bromwich Albion's winter problems than counting the days before he opens discussions over a new contract.

Steve Clarke has arrested a worrying decline in West Brom's form.
Clarke's future is up for discussion in 2014.

Clarke is happy with the situation outlined by technical and sporting director Richard Garlick -- who has revealed WBA will commence discussions over a new deal for the 50-year-old head coach in the New Year.

The former Chelsea and Liverpool No. 2 is relaxed about his future after 17-months of progress, but less so about the mid-season slump that has affected the club over the last four seasons in the Premier League.

He believes the next six weeks, including the hectic festive period, are crucial to whether WBA can match, or better last season's impressive eighth place finish and break through the 50-point barrier.

With Monday's crucial Hawthorns derby with Aston Villa next up for Clarke and his players, the prospect of sitting down with chairman Jeremy Peace and Garlick could not be further from his mind.

"It’s the part of the season where we have to pick up some points. It’s been levelled at the club over the last three or four years that they haven’t picked up enough points," said Clarke. "It will be interesting to see what happens this year because at the moment we still need plenty of points."

Clarke conducted an internal inquiry over the summer after his side picked up just two wins between November 24 and February 11 last season, but he feels a local derby is the perfect fixture for his team to remove any lingering frustrations from their controversial draw with Chelsea before the international break.

Chelsea's controversial last minute penalty prompted an official complaint from Peace and a request to introduce video technology. Albion were also given an apology from Mike Riley, head of Professional Game and Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL).

"If we can use the frustration to kick on and get the points against Villa then fine, but the players are all experienced enough to know that you can’t dwell on the previous game, you have to look forward to the next one," he said. “Chelsea’s gone and we have to move on. The next game isn't a small game either -- it's massive. It's a big game, we're looking forward to it."

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