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Long: Competition healthy at West Brom

Shane Long has pointed to Peter Odemwingie's impact from the substitutes' bench as evidence of the fierce competition for places at West Bromwich Albion.

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Odemwingie made Long's goal against Manchester City at the weekend, albeit fortuitously, and played like a man determined to reclaim his wing role from the recalled Marc Antoine Fortune.

And having watched his team-mate's performance, Long says the heat is on all the club's forwards to deliver.

"It is a nice armoury to have coming off the bench in Pete, Lukaku and Gera," he said. "It shows how good we are as a squad at the moment and the starting XI need to perform to keep their positions on the pitch.

"Pete was a different thing for Micah Richards to defend inside. He is very direct running at them. With tired legs, he exploited it and created a few chances.

"It's very frustrating for us to have lost but we can look back and take a lot of positives. We can probably go on to Newcastle and, if we do the same things, win the game."

Long's fifth Albion goal of the season made up for his continued frustration at failing to break into the Republic of Ireland starting side.

And he is already looking forward to Sunday's clash with Newcastle at St James' Park as a chance to further turn the club's good form into good results.

Albion had boasted a 100% home Premier League record before losing to City, having also beaten Chelsea at The Hawthorns in the spring.

"At least we lost in the right way, trying to win the game and take the game to them," Long added. "There aren't many teams that will take points off Manchester City this season.

"It hasn't happened often, especially at home, and there is a bit of disbelief at coming out and losing that game because we really took it to them and caused them all sorts of problems.

"We've got to keep confident in our own ability on the ball and keep passing it. Newcastle is not an easy place to go but the way we're playing at the moment, I think we can go anywhere and take points.

"The boss has instilled real confidence in us to play against the best teams and pass the ball and we showed that. We passed it out from the goalkeeper with every chance we got and they are probably one of the best teams in Europe, never mind England.

"But at the same time, we have got to learn from these situations. We probably should have won at Villa and didn't see it out and it was the same on Saturday."


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