Club News

Long points to Hoolahan danger

And striker says four-point haul from back-to-back home games would be ideal Christmas gift

SHANE Long has highlighted his international team-mate Wes Hoolahan as one of Norwich’s biggest threats in tomorrow’s Hawthorns clash (ko 3pm).

The Baggies striker recently trained with the Canaries play-maker while on duty with the Republic of Ireland.

He has been a key part in an astonishing City run that, aside from Barcelona, sees them boast the longest unbeaten record in Europe’s elite leagues after not losing in ten games.

“I’ve only seen Wes in training,” said Long.

“But he never gives the ball away.

“He’s really nippy on the ball and is good with the ball at his feet and dribbling.

“He likes to set other people up to score so he’s obviously going to be a threat at the weekend.

“He likes to play in behind the striker, like Mozza does for us.

“He’s a handful – but I’ll let the defenders worry about him.”

While not underestimating the task Albion face, the former Reading hitman says victory over Chris Hughton’s side would make it a satisfactory four-point haul from back-to-back home games following last Sunday's goalless draw with West Ham.

“We didn’t turn up at Swansea and we kind of looked at it as if we needed to put it behind us and move on,” added Long.

“Stoke was a nothing game and they did the same thing they did to us last season by scoring a late winner – it was always going to be a one-goal game.

“At Arsenal we were hard done by.

“You can’t keep looking for excuses and at the weekend I always felt like we were going to win - but it just didn’t happen.

“We’re meeting a team now that is in great form in Norwich.

“It’s going to be a tough test for us but if we get a win there and get into Christmas with four points from two games it will be a good return.

“On paper people look at West Brom-Norwich and say West Brom win.

“But the form Norwich have been in, they’ve won five on the bounce at home and they’ve done well away as well.

“They play good football under Chris Hughton and you can see they gel well together.

“It’s going to be tough for us but I know, if we turn up on the day, we can get three points.”

A victory tomorrow for Steve Clarke’s seventh-placed side would see them on 30 points for Christmas.

And Long admits the ambitious target of hitting 40 before the end of January is in his mind.

“We want to get to that 40-point mark as soon as we can,” he said.

“Hopefully it will be before the end of January and then we’ll aim higher and higher.

“It’s always been about looking at the next game and trying to get three points, knowing the table will take care of itself.

“We’re not going to get carried away but at the same time we’re not going to look down either.

“We’re in a good time, we’re still really high up the table.

“I think we are performing well and we just need that stroke of luck.”