Club News

Reid tips Long for big season

And defender expects Anelka to be positive influence on Ireland man

STEVEN Reid has tipped Shane Long to hit new heights this season after impressive back-to-back Barclays Premier League campaigns.

The Ireland hitman - who is expected to overcome a minor toe injury in time for Monday's game with Puskas FC Academy at FC Sopron's stadium (ko 6pm local time) - has scored eight top-flight goals in each of the last two seasons for the Baggies since moving from Reading.

And Reid believes he could become recognised as the complete striker if he can at least move into double figures this term.

“Longy’s done superbly,” he said.

“He's played his way into the team and been the main man for the Republic.

“Rom [Lukaku] took a lot of the headlines last year with his goals but Longy did a lot of the dirty work as a striker.

“He ran the channels, he harassed defences all afternoon long.

“Goals might get the headlines and credit but you often get players talking about others who don't get the credit.

“If Longy can get more goals then he really will be the complete package.

“But he has progressed a lot over the last couple of years.

“It will be a little bit of added pressure this season but, whether he plays with Nicolas or whoever, I’m sure he can go to new heights.

“He's having contract talks as well and if he can get that sorted out I've no doubt he'll go onto have a good season.”

And Reid expects new signing Nicolas Anelka to help Long in his quest to increase his goal tally.

“I think they can do well together,” the defender added.

“Looking at the way Nicolas played in the week, and how he played in training, he seems to enjoy dropping off the main striker, which he can also play.

“But when he does drop into those holes and slides passes through, I think both he and Longy could do well.

“I can't remember playing against Nicolas, although I have.

“I do remember him at Chelsea playing wide.

“He was more of a no.9 at Bolton.

“He has the ability to play any attacking role.

“It has given the place a lift knowing we can sign a player like that - he's a name.

“I'm sure he had a lot of offers to go all over the world.

“To come here means we can attract big-name players.

“People are seeing that we're signing the likes of Nicolas Anelka and that can only help take us onto the next level.”