Shane Long has predictably been thrust into the role of protagonist as Hull welcome his former employers, with new boss Steve Bruce boasting that “West Brom’s loss has certainly been our gain”.
Even Baggies head coach Pepe Mel felt it necessary to assert that he played no part in the fan favourite’s January departure, claiming that he “went along with decision the club had made”.
West Brom pocketed a sum rumoured to rise to £7 million, but didn’t reinvest it, and with Long outscoring all their forwards in the Premier League and Nicolas Anelka being sacked, the sale has come under the spotlight.
The Republic of Ireland international has already netted twice since joining the Tigers, as well as notching against Serbia earlier this month, and is 11/8 to provide definitive proof that West Brom made a mistake at the KC Stadium.
If you are confident that the 27-year-old will grab his fourth goal in eight appearances for club and country, there is a strong case for backing him to open the scoring at 5/1.
Each of his strikes in the aforementioned sequence were deadlock breakers, while eight of Hull’s last 10 Premier League games produced two goals or fewer.
Long has only faced an old flame once before in English football, emerging from the bench in the 66th minute of West Brom’s 1-0 Hawthorns win over Reading to set up Romelu Lukaku for the clincher.
Even though the Baggies secured their first victory in 10 attempts last week as Hull endured a third successive home league defeat against 10-man Manchester City, Mel’s men are rated 5/2 outsiders, with their hosts 5/4 and the draw 23/10.
That is because Hull’s best performances have come against sides 10th or lower, winning six, drawing five and losing just three and keeping six clean sheets from eight at home in that sequence. They are 31/20 to shut out West Brom.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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