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Mel insists Long sale was sealed before his arrival

West Brom boss Pepe Mel claims Shane Long's departure was already effectively a done deal by the time he took over at the club – and has indicated he would have liked to have kept the striker.

Spaniard Mel's appointment as head coach and successor to the sacked Steve Clarke was announced by the Baggies on January 9.

Long was still a West Brom player at that point and completed a full 90 minutes for them on January 11 as they lost 1-0 at Southampton – a game for which they still had caretaker boss Keith Downing in charge, while Mel watched from the stands.

Prior to Albion's next fixture, Long's transfer to Hull was then confirmed on January 17 and the Republic of Ireland international is set to line up against his old club today when they visit the KC Stadium in the Premier League.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Mel said of the frontman: "Before I arrived here, Long was out. It was not my problem."

Then, asked if he would have liked to have kept Long at West Brom, Mel said: "Of course – Romelu Lukaku (who was on loan with West Brom last season from Chelsea) too.

"But it was not possible.

"My job began on January 14 and Shane Long was at Hull."

Mel does not think Long will feel he has a particular point to prove against his former employers in today's match.

"I think not, because for professional footballers, it is normal to change job," Mel said.

"And besides, the most important thing in football is the fans and what they feel for the club.

"Shane Long is a good player, a good striker, but we have other players."

Defender Jonas Olsson has joined West Brom's list of unavailable players for the clash against 13th-placed Hull, who are two points better off than Albion.

With vice-captain Olsson beginning a two-game ban after reaching 10 yellow cards for the season and first-choice skipper Chris Brunt already out with a knee problem, Gareth McAuley is taking the armband this weekend.


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