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Long 'excited' at Hull's future and prospect of Euro qualifiers

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SEEING as they haven't won a single game since Shane Long left the club in January, West Brom fans must surely be wondering if they made the right decision in selling the striker to one of their Premier League rivals.

But there is no doubt in the mind of the Tipperary man that he made the right call in switching sides and moving to Hull City, as Long feels that the transfer has given his career a new lease of life.

On the international front, things are looking bright for Long, who will take some extra baggage back to England later this week as he picked up a trophy for having scored Ireland's goal of the year for 2013, away to England, at the FAI's annual awards ceremony.

With Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle absent, Long is almost certain to start against Serbia tomorrow and there is a spring in his step since that move to Hull, scoring twice in six games for the Tigers.

"It was tough for me at West Brom not knowing where I was standing or if a new contract was coming or what the craic was," Long said.

"It's hard enough trying to concentrate on your football with those things, so coming to Hull, with the new challenge and fitting in with the lads in the dressing room more or less straight away, it transfers onto the pitch when you are happy in the dressing room as well. These are exciting times."

It's a sign of how badly Hull were struggling for goals that Robbie Brady is still their top scorer this season with four goals (three in the league), and the last of those came back in September, though Long and his fellow new signing Nikica Jelavic have added some goals.

"I think he's on three, now Jella's on three and I've got two," says Long, pleased with his partnership with Jelavic.

PRESSURE

"They were keeping clean sheets, but not getting goals. All of a sudden, they get six against Fulham and then they are on a dry spell again. So that pressure was on us when we came in to produce some goals and make that impact. They have put faith in us to do that and hopefully we can return it.

"I remember after the first game people were saying we (Long and Jelavic) seemed to really click. In training, we didn't play in the same team once – it was young v old and he's obviously a little bit older than me – but it just kind of clicked on the pitch.

"We didn't really have to work it. I'm enjoying playing up front with him. He's a handful, he's a big lad, but he works his socks off as well. He runs around the pitch and he shares the load with me. He's enjoyable to play with," added Long.

While 2013 was short on highlights for the Irish game, Long's goal away to England in a May friendly was a moment to savour and, while the draw for the Euro 2016 qualifiers saw Ireland and England avoid each other, there is now a rematch with Germany, but that holds no fears for Long.

"I'd fancy us against any team, once we set up right. With the manager we have now as well, we'll be well prepared for any team.

"Germany was probably the one team out of the whole thing that we didn't want. Them and Spain. We managed to get them again. The rest of the group is tough for us, but it's very doable," he added.


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