Hodgson crushes talk of Long recovery and backs Cox to fill Ireland void
ROY HODGSON has extinguished hope that injured striker Shane Long could make an unlikely recovery in time for Ireland's Euro 2012 play-off with Estonia.
The West Brom manager has indicated that he expects the 24-year-old to be out for about six weeks, despite the player's optimism that he might be available to make a recovery from his knee problem in less than half that time.
He sustained a small chip to a bone in his knee and severe bruising after a horror tackle from Aston Villa's Alan Hutton last Saturday.
Long may still be named in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad, but Hodgson has indicated that the Italian will instead be looking to Simon Cox, who ironically should finally get the chance to figure with the Baggies due to the Tipperary man's setback.
"It is a blow for (Ireland) and a big blow to Shane," said Hodgson. "But it looks like they can fill the gap and maybe Simon Cox can help them."
Hodgson admitted that the only upside to the situation is that Long didn't suffer more serious damage in the Hutton incident.
Trapattoni will name his panel in Dublin tomorrow morning and he may have to supplement his depleted strikeforce, with Leon Best a possible candidate.
Cox, Jonathan Walters and Andy Keogh are fully fit, while Robbie Keane is on the comeback trail. Kevin Doyle is suspended for the first leg in Tallinn.