Clarke eager to keep Long and Odemwingie at West Brom

The pair have both been linked with a move away from the club, though the Baggies' new boss has no plans to cash in and is instead excited at getting pre-season under way with them

West Brom manager Steve Clarke has revealed that he is relishing the prospect of working with duo Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie, quashing rumours that the strikers are set to depart from the Hawthorns this summer.

Since arriving in England from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow, the Nigeria international has impressed, scoring 26 times in 62 appearances.

And Odemwingie’s subsequent form has seen him linked with a move to a bigger club, with Arsenal and Totteham linked in recent months, though Clarke has no desire to sell the 30-year-old.

"He's [Odemwingie] a top player, a Nigerian international, he scored goals in the Premier League consistently," Clarke told the Sunday Mirror.

"There's no reason to doubt that he's not a top, top player and I'm really looking forward to working with him.

"His goal record here is really good. He's the man you look to for the goals. Normally as an opposition coach I would be looking and seeing that Peter Odemwingie has scored again.

"I will come in and work with Peter and over a period of time I will be able to grade him and see where he fits in that sort of level in the table and where he fits as a player."

And Clarke shared the same sentiments for fellow forward Shane Long.

The record signing struggled to replicate the form he produced at Reading to convince West Brom to part with £6.5 million, but the newly-appointed boss remains keen to keep him at the Hawthorns.

He continued: "I have spoken briefly to most of the players and I spoke to Shane.

"He said that he had a difficult first season with a lot of injuries. He's told me that he's over that and he feels quite good.

"Unfortunately he's not had a chance to really play in the Euros, but in a way that might be a good thing that he's not been pushed and asked too many questions.

"He can now have a nice summer and come back refreshed. It's quite an appealing prospect and both of them have proved that they are natural goalscorers. If you have two goalscorers who can score goals it's a big plus."