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Shane Long could be out for six weeks

After falling foul of a reckless challenge from Alan Hutton during Saturday’s West Midlands derby, the striker looks likely to miss out on Ireland’s crucial Euro 2012 play-off with Estonia.

Shane Long was injured during West Brom's clash with Aston Villa.
Shane Long was injured during West Brom's clash with Aston Villa.
Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND striker Shane Long looks likely to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines, according to a statement released by the player’s club, West Bromwich Albion, earlier today.

Long was injured in controversial circumstances during Saturday’s West Midlands derby when he collapsed under the weight of an aggressive lunge from Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton.

Incredibly, referee Phil Dowd failed to award the striker a free-kick, let alone display a card.

Roy Hodgson later described the attempted tackle as a “wicked challenge,” while Paul Scharner, speaking to the Guardian, explained the incident in terms of Long’s goal-scoring threat.

“You could see the first 10-15 minutes they tried very hard to kick Shane… I think they got away with it and Shane left the field. It looks like if you are scoring three or four goals at the beginning of the season, and are always a threat, then defenders look at you.”

Though he can count himself fortunate to have avoided a more serious injury, the Tipperary native looks certain to miss Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualification play-off with Estonia.

“Shane Long could face up to six weeks on the sidelines after a scan this evening confirmed the extent of the knee injury he suffered at Villa on Saturday.

Long was forced to leave the field in the 19th minute after a challenge by Alan Hutton eight minutes earlier.

The force of the tackle resulted in the Republic of Ireland international suffering severe bone bruising, and a small bone chip, inside his right knee.”

A further diminution of Ireland’s attacking resources, Long’s injury leaves Giovanni Trappatoni with a trio of strikers– Robbie Keane, Simon Cox and Jonathan Walters– from which to select a two-man attacking unit for next month’s crucial internationals.

Read more on the tackle in the Guardian’s match report>

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