Long ruled out for six weeks
West Bromwich Albion have suffered a major blow with the news that top-scorer Shane Long will be sidelined for six weeks with a knee injury sustained in the win at Aston Villa at the weekend.
Long, who has three Premier League goals to his name following his summer move from Reading, will also miss Ireland's crucial Euro 2012 play-off games against Estonia. Ireland are already without fellow striker Kevin Doyle for the first leg through suspension.
Manager Roy Hodgson is trying to look at the positives, as the injury could have led to a far longer lay-off for the 24-year-old following Alan Hutton's challenge.
Hodgson said: "I was a bit relieved although six weeks is still a lot. It means he will still possibly miss six games. You don't take the situation lightly - but we know it could have been a lot worse.
"The ideal scenario would have been no injury at all but, if there has got to be one, at least it's not a serious break or ligament damage.
"It is a blow for them and a big blow to Shane who is a very patriotic Irishman who was looking forward to helping his country get to the European finals.
"But it looks like they can fill the gap and maybe [fellow WBA striker] Simon Cox can help them.''
Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans is expected to return to training on Thursday after missing the Villa game with a knee injury.