VIDEO: Shane Long has made ‘significant improvement’; yellow cards will play part in play-offs

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has revealed that striker Shane Long has made “significant improvement” from his injury.

VIDEO: Shane Long has made ‘significant improvement’; yellow cards will play part in play-offs

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has revealed that striker Shane Long has made “significant improvement” from his injury and is fighting to be fit for the second leg of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifiers in Dublin on Monday.

Ireland are without suspended duo John O’Shea and Jonathan Walters and injury victims Shay Given, Long and new addition to the casualty list, David Meyler, who suffered a knee injury in training on Wednesday, for the first leg in Zenica this evening.

However, O’Neill seemed cautiously optimistic about Long saying: “Shane Long hasn’t been able to travel with us, but he is making significant improvement so we will see how he is by the weekend.

“John O’Shea continues to make progress which is good news for us.”

However, the news was not so good for Meyler.

The Ireland manager said: “David sustained an injury yesterday and unfortunately he’s unable to make it. He’ll be out of action for a couple of weeks which is not good news for us and obviously not good news for his club where he has been playing very well.”

But O’Neill is not letting the injury list get him down and he takes confidence from his team’s performance against World champions Germany last month.

He said: “It was almost inevitable that we would miss players. First of all, before we gathered we knew that we would be missing John O’Shea and Jon Walters through suspension.

“We also have a number of players on yellow cards, same as Bosnia, so all these things are eventually going to play a part. It’s how you cope with them is the most important thing.”

Ireland’s head coach still doesn’t think losing a lot of his key players has made his job of picking a team any easier.

He said: “We have a squad of 23, players like Harry Arter - who I thought did very well in the game against England - is coming back to some sort of fitness. He has played for Bournemouth.

“Alan Judge has made his way into the squad desperate to be part of things.

“So the team selection’s still as difficult as it has been before.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox