WEST BROM ASSISTANT boss Michael Appleton says Ireland will probably face Estonia in their Euro 2012 play-off games without Shane Long.
The Baggies striker suffered severe bone bruising thanks to a horror tackle from Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton last month.
Giovanni Trapattoni named the former Reading man in his squad for the games – as well as Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane – but Appleton, who is tipped to replace Roy Hodgson at some stage in the Hawthorns top job, thinks the trip to Tallinn comes too soon for the Tipperary man.
“Shane has not broken his leg or anything like that,” Appleton told the club’s website this morning. ”But it is one of those injuries you have to be really cautious with.
“Ultimately, he is doing everything the physios are asking him to do. He’s working hard on the bikes. But, at the moment, he has not done any impact stuff.
“He is doing a lot of cardiovascular work to keep his heart-rate up while protecting the leg.
“I would be very surprised if he is available for the Ireland games. He would have to make a massive recovery in the next week or so.
“From Shane’s point of view, I imagine he will be desperate to play – but he’s quite a sensible lad. He realises he has a chip in his bone which needs to heal before he can play again,” the coach added.
But John O’Shea, another of Trap’s injury worries, looks certain to miss the trip to Tallinn after Steve Bruce ruled him out of action for up to three weeks yesterday.
The Sunderland defender pulled up with a hamstring tear during last weekend’s 2-2 draw against Aston Villa and will play no part in the Black Cats’ game against former club Manchester United this weekend.
However, it is understood that the player is determined to be fit for the second leg against Estonia and has targeted the game for his return.