herald

Friday 9 December 2016

West Brom want more of McClean

Derryman scores but lucky to avoid red

James McClean celebrates scoring his first goal for West Brom
James McClean celebrates scoring his first goal for West Brom

West Brom have challenged Ireland man James McClean to deliver more goals for the Baggies after the former Derry City player finally ended his scoring drought.

But McClean, who scored his first goal for the Baggies in their 1-1 draw with Tottenham, was told he was lucky to stay on the pitch for the duration of the game, as he received a booking for a foul on Moussa Dembele but he could have been shown a straight red card.

Relief

McClean went on twitter to express his relief at scoring for the first time for the Baggies but his employers want him to deliver more.

"He has been playing ever so well and goals are probably what he hasn't brought to the team. He got a terrific goal here and hopefully he can go on and score a few more," said WBA assistant coach Dave Kemp.

"We've been very pleased with him. His performances have been excellent. He's been fantastic. I don't think anyone was doing somersaults when we signed him and felt he was going to have a big influence here but he has been tremendous.

"He's part of the group, sets the tone for the rest of the team with his energy and his performances have been top class."

Another Ireland cap who was relieved to score was Anthony Pilkington, who scored for only the second time this season when he netted the key goal which gave Cardiff City a 3-2 win away to crisis club Bolton.

An early favourite of Martin O'Neill, Pilkington has struggled with injury and loss of form and he faces a real battle to force his way into the Irish squad for Euro 2016.

Uncapped midfielder Alan Judge was also on target, his goal helping Brentford's new boss Dean Smith get off to a winning start as they beat MK Dons 2-0.

Ex-Walsall boss Smith took over after caretaker Lee Carsley opted to step back and resume his academy role but Smith paid tribute to the help Carsley gave.

"This win is down to the work that Lee Carsley has put in as well as myself, I've only been here two days," said Smith.

"I went out for dinner with Lee on Thursday night and we talked about different players. We won't be changing too much."

Afitzmaurice@herald.ie

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