Shane Long is 'touch and go' for Ireland's Euro 2016 play-off

Striker left out of Southampton squad as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

Long damaged ankle ligaments during the defeat in Poland.
Long damaged ankle ligaments during the defeat in Poland.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

SHANE LONG IS ‘touch and go’ for Ireland’s Euro 2016 play-off.

The striker was today named in Martin O’Neill’s provisional squad for the clash with Bosnia-Herzegovina, but he is still recovering from the ankle injury he suffered in Poland.

Long has been left out of the Southampton squad for their Capital One Cup tie against Aston Villa this evening, but O’Neill says the injury is improving.

“I spoke to him last week and he is optimistic, but he has always been optimistic regardless,” the Ireland boss said.

“Sometimes these injuries are going along very nicely and then you have four or five days where nothing happens and you think, ‘Have I spoken too soon?’

“He’s optimistic he can make it.”

Southampton will have league games against Bournemouth and Sunderland before the Ireland squad convenes next month, but O’Neill says there’s no guarantee that Long will return to competitive action before then.

“I think it will be touch and go myself,” he added.

“Even if he does feel that he’s absolutely fine, it’s a matter of trying to get into the (Southampton) side and at the moment they’re going very strongly up front.

For us, it would be great if he is available.

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Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Sunderland v Newcastle United - Stadium of Light O'Shea is suspended for the first leg in Bosnia. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

O’Neill also faces an anxious wait on the fitness of John O’Shea who limped off during Sunderland’s win over Newcastle at the weekend.

“I think it’s a grade one hamstring injury,” O’Neill explained. “Obviously all hamstrings are concerning but it’s less concerning than if it was a grade three.

“Only time will tell. It might be tight going but we’ll see.

He obviously misses the first game through suspension but we’ll give it every single possible (chance).

One player who will definitely miss out is Stephen Quinn who is recovering following surgery on a knee injury.

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