sport

Laudrup hails Baggies chief

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has hailed the job done by Steve Clarke in turning Wednesday's opponents West Brom into a top side.

Clarke took the first permanent manager's job of his career when he succeeded Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns and has enjoyed a dream start.

The 49-year-old Scot has guided the Baggies to third in the Premier League table, and even received messages of support from Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, who he worked with at Chelsea.

Albion will be looking to win a fifth consecutive top-flight game for the first time in 34 years, and Laudrup knows only too well how much of a threat the confident visitors will pose.

He said: "Confidence is so important in football. Talent, motivation and concentration are also key elements, but if you are winning games and getting good results then you believe you can beat anyone.

"They have already won a lot of games away from home, they beat Chelsea at home and were unlucky to lose to Manchester City. So West Brom at this moment will feel they can beat anyone no matter where they play.

"They don't think they are the best team in the world but they are confident."

He added: "Everybody has been impressed by the job Steve Clarke has done, to be third is fantastic, it is way above expectations.

"We will see a hard-working team with a lot of confidence."

Swansea will again be without striker Danny Graham as he continues to fight the illness that has left him unable to train since the 2-1 win at Newcastle.

Graham is also unlikely to be fit in time for Saturday's trip to Arsenal, and Laudrup admits the former Watford man's illness is a worry.

"It is a concern, especially for him, it's one thing to have two to three days with the flu but when it is still there you get worried," he said.

"We hope it is nothing more, I think he has had some tests but we have not had the results.

"It's important he gets back again, that he has nothing to worry about and he can rest and then come back to training."