Club News

Long calls for Royal flush

Striker prepares to face former club for first time on Saturday

SHANE Long hopes Albion can ‘put the record straight’ by getting back to winning ways as he prepares to face his former club Reading for the first time on Saturday (ko 3pm).

The Baggies had secured their best-ever start to a Barclays Premier League campaign, with seven points from three games, prior to their disappointing 3-0 defeat at Fulham.

And Long, who spent six years at the Madejski Stadium, believes Steve Clarke’s men have what it takes to bounce back from defeat at Craven Cottage and retain their 100 per cent home record.

“Everyone was saying how good we were playing during the first three games but suddenly you have one bad performance and everyone’s wondering whether it was all a fluke,” said Long.

“We performed very well in the first three games and got off to a good start.

“You have bad days, like we did on Saturday, and it’s how you react to those days that counts.

“We’ve now got a point to prove and we’re all looking forward to the weekend.

“It’s nice to be back in training and hopefully we can put things right.

“It hurts when you watch games back on the telly. I think the general impression was Fulham were good and that they turned us over in a routine victory.

"But it wasn’t as simple as that, so it would be nice to set the record straight on Saturday.

“From my own point of view, I know the missus didn’t enjoy being around me on Sunday and Monday!”

Long, who faces Brian McDermott’s side for the first time since leaving the Madejski Stadium for The Hawthorns 13 months ago, admits it will feel odd to play against his old club. 

“I’m really looking forward to it," said the Republic of Ireland international.

"It’s going to be strange playing against the shirt I played in for six years, but hopefully I’ll have the bragging rights come the end of the game.

“I know the Reading lads very well and they've been quite unlucky not have to more than one point from their opening three games.

"But the fact they haven't got more to show for how well they've played probably makes our game a little bit more important for them as a team and as a club.

“I was there for six years and I know that their main concentration is always on the next game.

“They’ve got players that can really hurt you and I think Jimmy Kebe might be back soon, while Garath McCleary has been brilliant since he was brought in.

“They have Jobi McAnuff on the other wing, with Le Fondre and Pogrebnyak up front, so they have plenty of ways they can hurt you.

“We believe we're good enough as a team to get the three points but you don’t get wins easily in this league - and especially not against Reading.”