And striker admits he is enjoying his football
SHANE Long has put the inspiration for his derby double against Villa down to the pressure on his place in Steve Clarke’s XI.
The Republic of Ireland striker is currently enjoying his longest run in the team since the start of the season.
And Albion are reaping the rewards after he made it three goals in two games ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle (ko 5.30pm).
“I got injured two or three games into the season and the lads picked up points when I was out and it was hard to break back into the side,” he said.
“I knew when I got my chance I’d have to make an impression and hopefully I’m doing that.
“I sat in the dressing room before the game and I had Anelka to my right and Anichebe to my left, then we’ve got Vydra and Saido plus Rosenberg.
“So it’s a lot of competition for places and a big headache for the head coach, but that can only be a good thing for West Brom.
“It’s hard to keep your place in this team and you need to impress any time you can, so hopefully I made a bit of an impression on Monday night and I can keep my place for Newcastle at the weekend.
“Injuries disrupted me a bit and it was hard to force my way back into the side and in the Palace game I probably didn’t play well but I caused a few problems.
“The gaffer stuck by me, which gave me confidence going into Chelsea, and I feel like I’ve done well in the two games since Palace and the two games with Ireland.
“Confidence goes a long way when you’re a striker and I’m enjoying my football at the moment.”
The Baggies currently lie 11th after a dozen games, and are only outside the top half of the table on goal difference.
Long added: “We are definitely good enough to be in the top half of the table and we went into Monday night thinking if we got the three points we could go to Newcastle and maybe overtake them - and they’re having a great season.
“There are fine margins between the top eight and 13th and 14th in the table so we’re not panicking at the moment.
“We know we’re playing good football and things will start going our way soon and hopefully we can beat what we did last season.”