Roy - Long ready for return
Roy Hodgson believes Shane Long is ready to return to his first team in Sunday's Black Country derby.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 11/02/12 2:48pm
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson believes Shane Long is ready to return to his first team but cannot guarantee the striker a starting berth in Sunday's Black Country derby.
The Baggies travel to Wolves hoping for a repeat of October's 2-0 win in the reverse fixture at the Hawthorns, when Long played a key role in the team's success.
The Irishman has been unavailable to Hodgson of late but the West Brom boss will take no inspiration from the last time the sides met when setting up his side.
"His frame of mind's very good," Hodgson said of Long.
"He's a very enthusiastic person who loves to play football, and I think he seems to be happy to be rid of his two back-to-back injuries that pushed him out.
"I don't base my decision on games that are going to be played in February on the basis of a game that was played in October," he added.
"It's more a question of whether we start him after the fact that he hasn't played in the last month or so."
Hodgson has a large and healthy squad to pick from, with long-term absentees Chris Brunt and Zoltan Gera the only players certain to miss the match.
Thus, the former Liverpool boss will make no reference to his injury list should West Brom fail to take anything from Molineux.
"One or two are a bit short of match practice perhaps, but they are all physically fit and ready to play," he said.
"So we can't blame it, if we don't do well, on the fact that we didn't have enough players, we'll have to blame it on the fact that we weren't good enough on the day."