West Brom not to wait much Longer for top half Premier League finish

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West Brom only narrowly missed out on a top-half finish in the Premier League last season, but the signing of Shane Long from Reading should ensure that they improve in the upcoming campaign.

Only goal difference saw West Brom finish behind midland rivals Aston Villa in 11th spot and they rapidly climbed the table when they replaced Roberto Di Matteo with Roy Hodgson in February.

West Brom scored in every Premier League game under Hodgson in the latter part of the season and their chances of continuing to find the net with regularity are boosted through the arrival of Long.

The Republic of Ireland international has signed a three-year deal at the Hawthorns for a undisclosed fee, although it is likely to be somewhere in the region of £7m.

Long scored 21 goals in the Championship last season to help Reading reach the play-off final and has been heavily linked with a move away from the club since this defeat by Swansea, particularly as he was entering the final year of his conract.

Newcastle, Everton and West Ham had all also been rumoured to be interested in Long, but Hodgson is delighted to have got his man.

Hodgson said: “He is a goalscorer and a hard-working player who has a very good attitude to the game

“The great thing about him is that even though he is still only 24 he has six years’ worth of experience of Premier League, Championship and international football and has margin for improvement in his game.”

Ben Foster and Zoltan Gera are among the other potentially influential names to have arrived at West Brom this summer and 3/1 therefore looks a big price in the Premier League odds that they finish in the top ten this season.

Long should be included in the squad for West Brom’s Premier League opener at home to Manchester United and it is 11/2 that the Baggies take the three points.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.