Baggies to rest Long
WEST BROM boss Roy Hodgson believes he must safeguard star striker Shane Long or risk losing him long-term.
The Irish international has been the Baggies top-scorer and best performer since his £6.5million move from Reading during the summer, but he has had to overcome a number of injury setbacks.
The 24-year-old, who has five Premier League goals to his name, looks set to be rested this weekend as West Brom host championship side Cardiff City in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Cardiff will be delighted they won't have to contend with Long's pace and power this weekend after the Tipperary native scored twice against them last year as Reading romped to a 3-0 semi-final play-off win.
"If we're not careful with Shane, we could put him out for a long time," warned Hodgson.
"We can't keep asking him to play like we did on Sunday when he's not 100pc fit.
"There's a balance with him. Shall we put him straight back in on Saturday and risk him so he might miss a game or two more in the future?
"Or should we give him a bit more rest and hope that will help him to play all of the games?
"That will be one of those discussions I have with the medical people and Shane himself. It's not a serious long-term injury as far as Shane is concerned. It's a problem he came to us with, which has to be managed."
Long won't be the only West Brom absentee as Chris Brunt is likely to miss the rest of the season after damaging an ankle against Everton last weekend.
Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Gera has also been ruled out of the season with a knee injury.
Jerome Thomas limped out of Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur with a groin problem and Steven Reid (ankle), Youssuf Mulumbu (groin) and Jonas Olsson (calf) are also in the treatment room at the Hawthorns.