West Bromwich Albion must use their knowledge of Shane Long to their advantage this weekend, as they travel to Hull City in another crunch game for their survival bid.
Long left Albion for Hull in January after the Baggies accepted a fee in the region of £7 million, with the Irish international craving more first team football. The move left many fans bemused as to why the club had sold arguably its best striker to a relegation rival.
Long has scored twice in seven appearances for the Tigers, and will pose a big threat to his former employers on Saturday. But the Baggies can counteract Long's quality movement and energy, and use their two-and-a-half-year knowledge of him to their advantage.
Claudio Yacob is in contention for a return to the Albion side this weekend, and along with last week’s match-winner Youssouf Mulumbu can be pivotal in restricting Long during the match.
Both players are used to playing a slightly deeper role in the central of midfield, and can use their knowledge of Long to cut off his supply.
Suspension will rule the commanding Jonas Olsson out of the fixture, with Craig Dawson sure to keep his place in the Albion defence. It remains to be seen whether manager Pepe Mel will stick with the 3-5-2 formation that worked successfully at Swansea, or if he will revert to four at the back.
The latter of those options will probably be best suited to their opponents in Hull. Long, in addition to the likes of Nickica Jelavic, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore all possess the ability to carve open the Albion defence, and work well in lots of space. Plenty of numbers in defence along with Yacob and Mulumbu will help make life difficult for them all.
Regardless of tactical approaches, it remains an important game for both clubs, who despite only being two points apart have endured very different seasons.
Steve Bruce’s men are considered to have had a strong season on their return to the top-flight, while Albion have under-achieved on their impressive eighth placed finish last season.
What tactics should Pepe Mel use to limit the threat of Shane Long on Saturday?