'Poppy Boy' Heads To Toon With Confidence

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IRA lover and the guy who refuses to wear a poppy in the Rememberance game in November, James McClean, insists Albion are heading to Newcastle full of confidence after a three-match unbeaten run.

The winger has been reinstated to the Baggies team by caretaker boss Darren Moore, and even though he turned 29 on Sunday, he feels as fit as a 19-year-old.

He believes last weekend’s fightback against a Liverpool side that smashed five goals past Roma on Tuesday shows there is character in the Albion squad.

And he’s hoping the Baggies can build on recent results at St James’ Park this weekend.

“If we do go down it won’t be by lack of trying or fighting,” said McClean. “We showed that on Saturday.

“On Tuesday, Liverpool blew away Roma. To come back in the last 15 minutes (against them) shows the character of the lads in the squad.

“Rafa Benitez has done a great job. I watched the game against Everton the other night and they seem very hard to break down and they also pose a threat going forward.

“They’re safe now and they’ve had a great season, especially from December onwards.

“We know the task ahead, especially going there too because it’s very noisy, they’re very passionate and it’s a big stadium.

“So we’ll have a battle on our hands but with the results in the last couple of weeks we’re going there with confidence and hopefully we can build on the last few games.”

McClean has struggled to cement a place in the starting XI this season, but he’s begun every game on the left wing under Moore so far.

And the Republic of Ireland international is enjoying his run in the team.

“I feel great, I’ve always felt great,” he said. “Touch wood I’ve been fortunate enough that I don’t get too many injuries.

“I mix my football training with extra training in the gym. I do boxing training as well so I’m just constantly mixing up my training to keep myself fit.

“I feel as fit now as I’ve ever been. I may be 29, but I feel 19!”

McClean's IRA tattoo ...

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