Club News

Long in good nick to close on target

And striker confident Baggies can rediscover cutting edge heading into Norwich clash

SHANE Long is hoping he can avoid a repeat of his second-half-of-the-season injury hell as he looks to surpass last term's personal eight-goal league tally - and quickly restore Albion’s cutting edge.

The Baggies head into Saturday’s clash with in-form Norwich (ko 3pm) having drawn a blank in their last 315 minutes on the pitch

But Long believes a change in fortunes in front of goal is just around the corner for Steve Clarke’s seventh-placed men.

“I think we’re playing very well and the chances we get we’re not converting,” said the Republic of Ireland striker.

“In training week in, week out we’re finding the top and bottom corners.

“It’s just a blip that every team goes through at one stage in the season.

“It’s all about how you recover from it.

“We lost two games in a row earlier in the season and came back and went on a four-game winning run.

“It’s all about how you react – and I thought we did well against West Ham, without that cutting edge.

“If we keep performing like we are I’m sure the results will start going our way.”

This time last season Long encountered back problems that hampered the second half of his campaign.

But he insists he is now firmly on top of an ongoing hamstring problem ahead of a spell of four games in ten days over the festive period.

“Obviously I want to better last season’s tally - but I had injuries last season,” he added.

“It was around this time last year that I broke down with my back.

“It’s a lot better now.

“You probably noticed I didn’t have that tape on in the last game because I’m on the mend.

“It’s a case of forgetting about it and doing my little bits to make sure it doesn’t come back.

“It’s a case of managing myself properly through the games.

“Over Christmas there is three or four games in a week-and-a-half so it will be tough going.

“But I’m on five league goals so I’m over halfway to last year’s tally.

“The next step is to get double figures and then after that 15, then 20, and just keep aiming higher and higher.

“For me it’s always been about winning games – it doesn’t matter who scores.

“But obviously, it’s nice to get those goals up.”