Shane Long comes up short in fitness bid

Republic of Ireland Shane Long Euro 2016

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The Republic of Ireland have confirmed that Shane Long has failed in his bid to be fit for their Euro 2016 play-off away leg at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday evening.

The 28-year-old Southampton striker has not played since injuring his foot in last month’s final Euro 2016 group qualifier against Poland in Warsaw which came three days after he scored the winner in an historic 1-0 victory against world champions Germany in Dublin.

Boss Martin O’Neill was hopeful that Long would be able to feature in their first-leg game in Zenica this week, but the Football Association of Ireland admitted defeat on Wednesday evening.

However, there still appears to be a good chance that O’Neill will have Long available for Monday’s second leg in Dublin.

An FAI statement read: “Shane Long will not be involved in Friday’s first leg as he will remain at Southampton for further treatment on his ankle injury, but he has not been ruled out of next Monday’s second leg at the Aviva Stadium.”

Ireland have also called up Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson following Keiren Westwood’s withdrawal, while fellow shot-stoppers Shay Given and Rob Elliot are already absent because of knee surgery and a thigh problem respectively.

Brentford midfielder Alan Judge has also linked up with the squad after recovering from a slight hamstring problem.

Ireland are 4.33 to win the away leg, while Bosnia are 1.91 and the draw is 3.30.

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