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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Boost for Ireland as Shane Long in line to return before Bosnia playoff

The Southampton striker could feature in the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 playoff with Bosnia.

 Shane Long hopes to be fit for Ireland's playoff with Bosnia.
Shane Long hopes to be fit for Ireland's playoff with Bosnia.
Image: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

SOUTHAMPTON MANAGER RONALD Koeman has handed Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill a boost by claiming that Shane Long is close to a club return.

The Ireland international suffered an ankle injury during the 2-1 defeat to Poland earlier this month, but could yet feature in November’s playoff double header with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Long will miss Southampton’s Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday but Koeman is optimistic he can return next weekend for the visit of Bournemouth on 1 November.

“Shane Long is still out at the moment,” Koeman told the club’s official website, “but he is progressing well.”

However, O’Neill will have to plan without midfielder Stephen Quinn for the November games, as the Reading midfielder has been forced to undergo knee surgery.

Royals boss Steve Clarke does not see the 29-year-old back in action until the new year.

“Stephen won’t be with us probably until end of December or January,” Clarke admitted. ”He’s had an operation that we were hoping we could avoid.

“But he’s had to go in and have surgery and we’re now looking at maybe 10 weeks from now until he’s back. It’s a blow for Stephen. But he’ll work diligently on his rehab and get himself ready.”

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