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Sunday 23 September 2018

Saint Long on way back from injury

Shane Long
Shane Long

Shane Long should be fit to resume duties with Southampton this weekend while Aiden McGeady is also on the way back.

But Martin O'Neill still faces an anxious wait on the rest of his injured players, with Preston unable to set a time frame for Sean Maguire's return to action and doubts over how soon James McCarthy and Robbie Brady can get onto the field of play.

However, Shane Duffy is expected to be cleared to play for Brighton when they are next in Premier League action, a groin injury causing him to miss the draw in Poland.

Long missed Ireland's double header against Wales and Poland but his club boss, Mark Hughes, has not ruled out a return for Long and club-mate Charlie Austin.

"They are just niggles. Charlie has got an issue with his hamstring and Shane had to come off against Palace with an issue with his toe," says Hughes ahead of Monday's clash with Brighton.

"Both injuries have settled down and we are hopeful to get them back into the group on Saturday if we can."

McGeady has been missing for Sunderland all season but Black Cats manager Jack Ross is pleased with the progress that the veteran has made.

"I always look at each player individually, because they react in different ways. Aiden, now he's back and fit, he's better in with us as a group than doing conditioning work," Ross said.

"Do we just throw him back in? We have to weigh that up, whether it be from the bench or starting or whatever that may be. We'll continue to assess that.

"Saturday is quick but if you asked Aiden, he's just the type of player who loves playing. His quality means that it is tempting."

Preston will be without Maguire for tomorrow's meeting with Reading and Alan Browne, who suffered a calf strain while training with Ireland and was unable to feature, is a major doubt.

Meanwhile, West Brom will make a call on whether to offer former Ireland man Wes Hoolahan a contract. Hoolahan and Russell Martin have been training with the Baggies.

"We've had them in because the international break allows us to have them in," said WBA boss Darren Moore. "We've had a good look at them, but the decision on both players has not been made yet."

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