Long: I'm committed to West Brom and I want Lukaku to stay
Published 25/02/2013 | 09:06
REPUBLIC of Ireland striker Shane Long has pledged his future to West Brom for next season - and hopes he can continue his successful partnership with on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.
The striker 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."