Hull City-West Brom Preview

The Associated Press

West Bromwich Albion have confirmed Keith Downing will take temporary charge of the side for Saturday's home match against Hull City following the departure of head coach Steve Clarke.

Clarke and his assistant Kevin Keen were sacked last weekend following a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff, which was Albion's fourth straight league defeat.

The 48-year-old Downing, who was joint assistant head coach under Clarke, will be supported by goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely while the club continues the search for a permanent new manager.

West Brom (3-6-7) have gone six matches without a win in the Premier League and are just two points above the relegation places after slipping down to 16th place in the table.

Baggies defender Steven Reid admits he and his fellow teammates were surprised by Clarke's dismissal but insists they are fully supportive of the interim management team of Downing and Kiely.

"We've got a massive fixture list coming up over Christmas and New Year and we just have to get on with it as best as we can and give our full support to Keith and Deano (Kiely)," Reid told his club's official website. "The two of them have the full respect of the players. They've been a big part of the club for a number of years now and there is no doubt the lads will be behind them 110 per cent.

"Anyone in the bottom half of the table is in that relegation fight - and we can't forget that. This is a period that could define how our season goes. There are a few games in which we think we can get results and hopefully start the New Year in a positive position in the table with a good amount of points."

Hull (5-4-7) are in 12th place with 19 points, but that relatively safe mid-table position is almost entirely due to their home form at the KC Stadium where they have collected 15 points from eight matches. The Tigers have been disappointing on the road, with four points earned from eight away matches. Only relegation-threatened Crystal Palace and Sunderland (three each) have fewer points from their away games than Hull.

The Tigers have drawn their last two matches (1-1 away to Swansea and 0-0 at home to Stoke) but have won just once in their last six league games, a 3-1 victory over Liverpool at the KC on Dec. 1.

Midfielder Jake Livermore believes Hull have a good base to build from and is confident the Tigers can move further up the table during the second half of season.

"I think we're reasonably solid," Livermore told his club's official website. "We're still working on different things in training and it takes time to put that into practice on a Saturday. We've reverted to a 3-5-2 recently and depending on how that is working, we can change it during a game.

"We were perhaps lucky to get a point (against Stoke on Saturday) but it's a vital point nonetheless. We'll stay positive, take a point and move on. We're still learning and I'm loving it here. The manager and the staff have been great and I love this set of lads. It's a great place to be and hopefully we'll move onwards and upwards. It's great to be a part of it."

This will be the first meeting between the sides since the 2008/2009 Premier League season. The Tigers took four points off the Baggies during that campaign, winning 3-0 at The Hawthorns and drawing 2-2 at the KC Stadium.

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