Long ‘committed to West Brom’

QPR manager Harry Redknapp is prepared for the stick that will
inevitably come his way at his old club Southampton next weekend as
his side’s relegation battle continues.

Rangers’ survival chances appear increasingly bleak, with
Redknapp’s men still rock-bottom of the Premier League and seven
points adrift of safety after defeat to Manchester United on
Saturday.

But the former Portsmouth boss remains convinced he can turn
things around and will not be discouraged by the expected abuse he
will receive from the Saints fans at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Redknapp, who turns 66 at the weekend, said: “It is my birthday
next Saturday and I thought there is no better way to spend it than
getting 90 minutes of abuse at Southampton.

“They’ll all be calling me ‘Scummer’ for my time at Portsmouth.
I thought that would be a great way to spend my birthday!”

He added of the battle for survival: “There are enough games
left – it is still wide open.

“We have got to go to Villa, we have got to go to Reading and we
have got Wigan here. I still fancy us.

“We’ve got nothing to lose, everyone thinks we are gone. But you
can change it so quickly.

“At Portsmouth in 2006 I had a crap team and we got 20 points
from 10 games and stayed up. It ain’t impossible.”

The Republic of Ireland international has been in fine form this
season and at the centre of speculation linking him with a possible
move away from the Hawthorns.

But Long, who made the ?5million switch from Reading during the
summer of 2011, is happy with life under head coach Steve
Clarke.

“Am I committed to West Brom for next season? Yes, I’m happy
here,” said the striker.

“I like playing for the manager here. He is very good, and I’m
learning a lot every week.

“The lads are a good bunch, the family are happy up here, so I’m
not looking to move on.

“I’m concentrating on this season and hopefully getting a few
more goals before the summer and kicking on from there.”

Nine-goal Long and Lukaku, who has been on target 12 times, have
been key players in seventh-placed Albion’s push for a Europa
League spot.

Long is surprised Chelsea did not recall him during January but
hopes the 19-year-old will return on loan to West Brom next
season.

He said: “They paid ?18million for him. I thought they’d bring
him in with a view to bringing him off the bench and giving him
games and forcing his way into the team.

“I suppose with Demba Ba coming in there, rather than having Rom
sitting in the reserves at Chelsea it is better to put him on loan
to us, playing games every week and showing what he can do.

“Hopefully he will come back next season.”

Long’s immediate concern is an ankle injury suffered during
Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Sunderland, which led to him being
substituted.

He said: “In the first half I rolled it and I managed to do it
two or three times afterwards, so the gaffer wanted to spare me for
next week (at Chelsea).

“It didn’t feel the best after the game but hopefully I can get
a better assessment in the next couple of days.”