Premier League - Clarke wants Villa to stay up

West Brom manager Steve Clarke hopes rivals Aston Villa survive relegation as he believes it will benefit his side in the long-term.

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Premier League - Clarke: West Brom's aims were unrealistic

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Steve Clarke of West Brom (PA Photos)

The Baggies could give their near-neighbours a helping hand in their bid to maintain top-fight status if they beat third-bottom Wigan on Saturday.

The Latics are currently five points adrift of Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland, and defeat at The Hawthorns would be another huge blow as they try to keep their place in the Premier League.

"I would like to see the Midlands stronger," Clarke told "It's important that you have good competition from the clubs around you.

"If you have that competition it's healthy around the area. It's better for the Midlands that they have more successful teams.

"I would miss Villa. It's important that they finish the season strongly. It's important to have your rivals breathing down your neck.

"You see how much it means to the supporters - they want to be the top dogs.

"But you want to be the top dogs because you've beaten your nearest rivals or you've finished higher than them in the same league - that's important."

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