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.”