LEE CLARK welcomed a home clash with West Brom in the third round of the FA Cup but insisted: “At this stage, the league is our priority.”
The visit of the Championship high-fliers on the weekend of January 2/3 is the reward for Saturday’s gritty 1-0 second-round win at Port Vale.
Both the result, sealed by Nathan Clarke’s 12th-minute overhead kick, and the performance pleased the manager, but he is desperate his side, who are fifth in League I, focus on tomorrow’s home meeting with basement side Tranmere.
“It’s good to be in the third round of the FA Cup and it’s good to have a home tie,” said Clark.
“But there is a lot of football to be played between now and then, starting with Tranmere.”
The West Brom tie – Town’s first meeting with Albion since the 2000-01 campaign, when they were beaten 2-0 at the Galpharm before a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns – is the second with a Championship side this season.
Clark’s men pushed Newcastle all the way before going down 4-3 in the second round of the Carling Cup.
West Brom, who like Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League last season, are second to the Magpies in the second tier, having won 4-0 at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Of his own side’s victory over League II Vale, Clark said: “There are certain aspects we will look to improve on, but to come away from home, keep a clean sheet and get the win was fantastic.”
Clark is confident wingman Anthony Pilkington, who missed the Vale tie with a thigh niggle, will be fit to face Tranmere.
But Tom Clarke faces a new spell on the sidelines with more knee trouble.