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Long and O'Shea back in training but Martin O'Neill wary of expecting too much

The pair haven’t played much football in recent weeks.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

JOHN O’SHEA AND Shane Long have joined up with the Ireland squad ahead of Monday’s showdown against Bosnia-Herzegovina but Martin O’Neill has voiced concerns over the pair’s fitness.

Both players took a full part in the group training session in Abbotstown this morning after missing Friday’s first-leg in Zenica through a combination of injury and suspension.

O’Shea hasn’t played since limping out of the Tyne-Wear derby at the end of last month while Long has been sidelined since injuring his foot during the final group game of the campaign in Warsaw.

And although both have reported for duty ahead of the second-leg at the Aviva Stadium, O’Neill admits their fitness will need to be assessed following today’s session.

“I think John has done a significant amount of work during the course of the week and that’s fine, Shane perhaps less so in that sense but I’ll see how they come out of today’s training,” the Ireland manager said.

“The very fact they’re here is good for us and we’ll see how they feel.

“Both are upbeat anyway, I have to keep in mind they haven’t played in the last couple of weeks but of course I have to keep in mind, players being fresh again and a few other considerations as well.”

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John O'Shea Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Jon Walters also returned to the set-up after missing the 1-1 draw at the Bilino Polje Stadium through suspension but Daryl Murphy, who spearheaded the attack in Bosnia, has emerged as an injury doubt.

The Ipswich forward was the only player to sit out the session after picking up a knock on Friday.

“Daryl picked up an injury in his calf and it was a kick and is responding well and he feels like he will be okay but didn’t want to risk anything this morning. That’s fine,” O’Neill added.

After Robbie Brady’s priceless away goal, Ireland head into Monday’s second-leg knowing a scoreless draw, or a victory, would see the Boys in Green qualify for Euro 2016.

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Ryan Bailey

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