Clarke wants Odemwingie support

  • Last Updated: March 7 2013, 15:58 GMT

Head coach Steve Clarke hopes West Brom's home supporters emulate the example of the away fans at Chelsea and welcome striker Peter Odemwingie back if included for Saturday's clash with Swansea at the Hawthorns.

Peter Odemwingie: Booed against Sunderland two weeks ago
Peter Odemwingie: Booed against Sunderland two weeks ago

Odemwingie was booed when he appeared as a late substitute against visiting Sunderland a fortnight ago.

It was his first appearance since his Twitter rants against the club during January after a transfer request was rejected and hopes of a move to QPR were dashed.

But he received a warm reception from the Baggies followers who travelled to Stamford Bridge last weekend.

Odemwingie's chances of starting have increased, with Shane Long doubtful after aggravating an ankle injury.

Clarke said: "Everyone knows the Peter incident happened but it's past for us and we have all moved on from it, and I look forward to his contribution for the rest of the season.

"Peter and I have a good relationship, coach-player excellent relationship.

"I think he is a good talent and I look forward to him making a good contribution for the rest of the season."

Clarke added: "People have to move on. We have moved on from it and the less we talk about it the more likely we are to move on completely from it.

"Am I keen to see home fans put things in the past? I would like to think so and if he plays and scores goals they will give him a good reception."

Long suffered an ankle injury against Sunderland, defied it to play at Stamford Bridge but then aggravated the problem in training this week.

Clarke said: "The one unfortunate thing for us is that Shane Long, who played last week with a bad ankle, has aggravated his ankle through the week.

"He trained Monday, Tuesday, unfortunately he didn't train today, is doubtful to train tomorrow and is doubtful for the weekend as well so that is a bitter loss for us."

Clarke still expects the Republic of Ireland to name Long in their squad for the forthcoming internationals with Sweden and Austria.

He said: "I'm sure he will be selected for the Irish squad. I'm ever the optimist. I haven't ruled him out for the weekend but he is on the doubtful side.

"But the Irish will pick him for the squad and hopefully he will be involved next weekend for us at Stoke."

Baggies skipper Chris Brunt has recovered from an ankle injury which prevented him playing against Chelsea.

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