Norwich City Premier League hammering is still fresh in the memory for West Brom’s Steve Clarke

West Brom boss Steve Clarke sees Norwich's visit as the start of a key phase in the Premier League.

West Brom boss Steve Clarke sees Norwich's visit as the start of a key phase in the Premier League. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steve Clarke is warning his West Brom players they are approaching a defining stage of the Premier League season.

Albion host Norwich at the Hawthorns on Saturday 11 points adrift of the total they had amassed at a similar stage of the last campaign, and Clarke readily admits the current standings do no lie.

The West Brom chief, however, believes the underlying trend is a positive one ahead of a hectic festive period.

'After this number of games you are pretty much where you deserve to be,' he said. 'We are stuck in the middle (of the table). We'd obviously like to be closer to the teams above us than the teams below us,' he said. But that's where we are. We can cry a little bit about being unlucky at times and really we should have had more points on the board. We haven't and so we have to address that in the future matches.

'I think we have played good football. I don't think we have got the points that that good football has maybe merited. But all we can do is work harder to get the points on the board. It might just be one of those seasons where we might not play as well in the coming matches but we pick up more points. The most important thing is just to get the points on the board and as quickly as possible.'

Clarke understands the home fans will expect to beat a Norwich outfit who have lost six out of seven in the league away from Carrow Road.

'I'm sure they are expecting us to beat Norwich. We managed to do it last year, and this season we have to do the same,' he said. 'It was a difficult home game with them last year. We turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory, which was good for us at the time.

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'Then we went down there at the end of the season when Norwich were still fighting for Premier League survival, and they turned us over 4-0, so that's still fresh in the mind.'

West Brom's bid for upward mobility includes upcoming games against promoted duo Cardiff and Hull.

'This is a key period for everybody (at the club),' said Clarke. 'We've had some really good performances, but haven't picked up the points we had to. Now we're going into a period where we've lost a couple, and that can always happen. This time of year, in December and January, you know after that period whether you will be fighting at the bottom or trying to chase those at the top.

'This will define where our season is going to be.'