Steve Clarke today warned West Bromwich Albion they are becoming marked men in the Premier League as he prepared to lock horns with former club Chelsea tomorrow.
Clarke believes the Baggies’ flying start to his first season in charge means opponents will raise their game at The Hawthorns.
West Brom, who are sweating on the fitness of key defender Gareth McAuley, would move within a point of third-placed Chelsea with victory tomorrow.
But the head coach warned: “The fact that we’ve done so well this season will start to make the games harder for us because people will come here knowing that they’re in for a tough afternoon.
“They certainly won’t take us lightly.
“Chelsea will look at the results they’ve had this season, they’ll remember that the last time they came here they got beaten.
“So they certainly won’t turn up and expect an easy game. They might expect to win, but they know it will be difficult for them to win.”
McAuley was being assessed today after feeling pain from a leg injury in Northern Ireland’s draw with Azerbaijan on Wednesday.