Tuesday 20 February 2018

Cox backs Irish team-mate to be hit for Baggies

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

SIMON Cox would be delighted to be reunited with Shane Long at club level -- even though he thinks it will result in him dropping down the pecking order at West Bromwich Albion if, as expected, his Ireland colleague completes his move from Reading today.

The duo were team-mates at Reading and although they only played 64 minutes over four games together, they did partner each other in the reserve team.

Cox left in a bid to gain first-team experience, while Long bided his time and eventually made the No 9 jersey his own, before earning a £7m move to the Hawthorns.

English-born striker Cox started ahead of Long in Ireland's crucial Euro 2012 qualifier in Macedonia last month, but he is realistic about his own place in the scheme of things at club level.

"He will be a great addition. Shane gives you pace and power. His record last year was very good and hopefully he can come in and produce for us what he did for Reading," Cox said.

"I think the manager's going to bring him in to play alongside Peter Odemwingie, so it'll be down to me to try to produce performances in training to try and find my way into that team.

"He was a bit-part player when Reading were in the Premier League last time but if he keeps up what he did in the Championship last season, I don't see why he can't be a hit for us in the Premier League this time."

Cox finished last season with goals against Northern Ireland and Italy and a starting spot in the game in Skopje, but he is not confident about his place in the first XI at club level.

"Some people have to make different paths to get to the pinnacle of their career. I went away to get regular football; Shane bided his time and got regular football at Reading. And what we've both done has paid dividends," he explained.

"It's about playing as many minutes as I can, being as fit as I can, getting as many goals as I can. A lot of my games probably come late in the season, if at all, and in cup competitions if the manager sends out a second-string side. I have to bide my time."

Irish Independent

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