And striker enjoyed Turner's Cross return
SHANE Long insists the signing of Nicolas Anelka is a sign the club are moving forward – after the former France international netted a hat-trick in a 6-0 victory at Cork City last night.
Long, who made one appearance for the Leesiders before moving to Reading in 2005, was also on the scoresheet at Turner’s Cross.
And the 26-year-old believes Anelka would not have chosen Albion if the club’s ambition did not meet his own.
“It’s a sign that the club wants to move onto bigger and better things that a player like Nico has come in,” said Long.
“He is known throughout the world as one of the best footballers.
“His list of former clubs is ridiculous.
“He has chosen to come to Albion because he obviously sees it as a team on the up as well.
“He thinks we will be good in the Premier League and hopefully fighting for a place in Europe.
“It shows that the club are heading in the right direction.”
The former Reading striker enjoyed his run out on his old stomping ground – and says he was always confident a goal would come.
“It was my second goal,” joked Long, who scored in a 4-0 behind-closed-doors training match triumph over Tamworth last month.
“I feel like I’ve been playing well and we’ve had a few tough games, playing up against some good defenders.
“I knew the goals would come and I don’t need to waste them in pre-season.
“It was brilliant to return to Turner’s Cross.
“Since I was here the shed has gone and they’ve put up a stand on the far side.
“The stadium has come on leaps and bounds.
“They had a game on Monday so they didn’t have their strongest team out and they’ve got another big game on Friday and another the week after.
“But it was good to get a good run out and a good test of fitness.
“We only have ten days to the start of the season and I enjoyed it.”
The Baggies now turn their attention to the final friendly of pre-season against Serie A outfit Bologna at The Hawthorns on Saturday (ko 3pm) – with only ten days remaining before Albion host Southampton in the Barclays Premier League. For ticket details click here.