Long losing fitness race
Ireland striker likely to miss Euro 2012 play-offs
Last Updated: November 3, 2011 9:49am
Shane Long: West Brom and Ireland striker Is nursing a knee injury and is not expected to face Estonia
West Brom assistant manager Michael Appleton says he would be 'very surprised' if Shane Long is ready for Euro 2012 play-off duty.
The Baggies striker is currently nursing a knee injury and knew he always faced a race against time to make the Republic of Ireland's crunch clash with Estonia.
He suffered the setback in a meeting with Aston Villa on 22nd October and was initially expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Should that prediction prove to be correct, Long will play no part in Ireland's two-legged tie with Estonia.
Giovanni Trapattoni has included him in his squad for the play-off encounter, but Appleton claims there is little chance of the 24-year-old being ready.
"It is one of those injuries you really have to be cautious with," he said.
"Shane is doing everything the physios are asking him to do. He is working hard on the bikes but has not done any impact stuff.
"I have seen players come back from injuries ahead of when they are expected to.
"But I would be very surprised if Shane is available for the Ireland game. He will have to make a massive recovery in the next week or so."
The first leg of Ireland's play-off will take place in Tallinn on 11th November, with the return leg in Dublin due to take place four days later.