Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
Clarke: Long not for sale
West Brom manager Steve Clarke has warned any interested clubs that in-form striker Shane Long "isn't going anywhere" during the January transfer window.
Six-goal leading scorer Long has been in excellent form for the Baggies and inspired their charge into the top four of the Barclays Premier League. Clarke is aware that Long's performances could make him a potential target but is adamant the Republic of Ireland international is remaining at the Hawthorns.
Head coach Clarke, whose side visit Sunderland this weekend, said: "Clubs can want to buy Shane, they can come if they want - and the answer is 'no'."
He added: "I am not going to hype up other clubs and who they should be bidding for. But Shane is our player and he's not going anywhere. At the moment he is in a great vein of form. I've run out of superlatives to say about Shane.
"We are delighted with his efforts and I think the competition for places, especially in the forward area, is keeping everyone on their toes and we are the beneficiaries of that. Shane's performance last weekend against Chelsea have been like that every time he has been selected this year."
Long's performances have been the more meritorious given the fact Albion have had to manage an ongoing hamstring setback.
But Clarke is confident the former Reading player could play in all three of Albion's games in the next eight days - against the Black Cats, Swansea and Stoke - if required.
He said: "It is just a condition that he has got. He has got tight hamstrings and we will look after him and make sure he it doesn't become a tear which will keep him out for eight weeks.
"That's all it is. It is not something dramatic or clever. If Mr Giovanni Trapatonni (Republic of Ireland manager) hadn't spoken to you guys and mentioned something in his press conference a few weeks back, you wouldn't know about it.
"If Shane has to play 90 minutes he can play 90 minutes, no problem. He can also play three games in a week if he has to but I would have to manage his training ground routine around the fact that he has three games in a week. We can manage it."