Lambert has hit out at Albion's decision to axe compatriot Clarke in December, just months after he steered them to a record eighth-placed Premier League finish last term.
He said: "I thought Stevie was doing really well there, I really did. I thought he was doing a great job. West Brom maybe have their way of doing things but I never expected him to leave.
"It could be harder against a new manager. Yet regardless of who is in charge a derby game will take care of itself and the atmosphere will lift everybody.
"Pepe (Mel) has been involved in big games. Anyone will tell you in whatever level you are playing at, if you have a local rival, you have the same feeling and desire to try to win it."
For breaking stories and all the great banter like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tribalfootball