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LOAN WATCH: West Brom's Long needs to be on his toes to keep out Chelsea's Lukaku

West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long feels he needs to be at the very top of his game to keep Romelu Lukaku out of the starting line-up.

Republic of Ireland international Long has scored seven goals in all competitions so far this season with his recent run of form prompting manager Steve Clarke to keep him in the first eleven whilst Lukaku has been in and out of the side.

Long is well aware that the Chelsea loanee has plenty of ability and knows he has to be on his toes if he wants to continue leading the Albion attacking line.

"I need to make sure I'm right for every game on and off the pitch," said Long.

"We have a lot of competition like Lukaku, who is only 19 but his attitude to the game is very good and he's a gifted footballer.

"He's trying to start every game and I'm trying my best to keep him out.

"The manager knows what system will win games. He's not afraid to change it if necessary, like he did when we played two up front against Wigan and won that game.

"But at the same time he's not afraid to share the load as well. He keeps me on my toes. I know I have to perform at my best every week."

Lukaku had a very quiet debut season with Chelsea last term but with his four Albion goals so far has shown glimpses of the form that landed him a £13million move from Anderlecht in June 2011.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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