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Future's bright for McAuley and Long

PUBLISHED

08:55 1st March 2013

Clarke says duo have been pivotal to Albion's success this term

STEVE Clarke believes the future is bright for Shane Long and Gareth McAuley at The Hawthorns.

The Baggies boss says the duo have been two of the club's most consistent performers this season.

Centre-half McAuley, now 33, has made more top-flight appearances than any other Albion player this term – missing just one game.

While Long, seven years his junior, has flourished in a lone striking role for much of the season.

And, with two full Barclays Premier League campaigns behind them, he is looking forward to seeing them kick on.

“It’s great to hear that Shane’s happy - it’s good for us,” said Clarke, who revealed the club are in contract talks with Long and McAuley.

“Shane has been great all season, right from the first game against Liverpool, when he was outstanding.

“He’s got that little bit of tenacity, hunger and desire that drags the rest of the team with him when he plays.

“Anybody who has watched Gareth this season will know his age isn’t an issue.

“His performances this season have been top class.

“He showed it last season and he has shown it again this season.

“He’s got his chance late in the Premier League and he has been one of the most, if not the most consistent performer for Albion this season.”

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