Club News

Liam excited by Long and Anelka link-up

And defender relishing matches on Austria trip

LIAM Ridgewell is savouring the prospect of seeing new signing Nicolas Anelka and Shane Long potentially paired together for the first time on the pitch during next week’s trip to Austria.

The Baggies will play their first official pre-season match against German Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96 at the home of Austrian club FC Gleisdorf 09, in Styria, on Thursday (ko 6pm BST).

And Ridgewell believes former Barclays Premier League Golden Boot winner Anelka and Ireland hotshot Long could forge a formidable long-term partnership.

“I’m sure Shane will be looking forward to it,” said the Albion left-back.

“Nicolas and Shane together could be frightening.

“I wouldn’t want to be defending with those two running at me.

“As a pairing I’m sure they’ll be very good for us.”

The Baggies head for their temporary Bad Waltersdorf base on Monday after a rigorous first week of double sessions to start pre-season.

And Ridgewell is looking forward to getting back into match action, with the opening game followed by a trip across the border four days later to take on Hungarian team Puskas FC Academy at FC Sopron's stadium (ko 5pm BST).

“It will be good to have all the boys together for a few days,” he added.

“It helps to gel as a team and a squad if you’re all away together for pre-season.

“We just can’t wait to get started.

“The best way to get to match fitness is by playing games and the quicker you can get a game under your belt the better.

“Hopefully once we’ve got those games under our belt we can start the season as we started last season.”