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Long 'is not a dirty player'

READING boss Brian McDermott defended Irish striker Shane Long after he picked up his second red card of the season, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

Long was dismissed only three minutes into the second half of Reading's FA Cup clash with West Brom, a 2-2 draw, for a challenge on Abdoulaye Meite.

"He just mistimed a tackle. I don't know if he caught him or not," said McDermott.

"But in this day and age referees can't get their red card out quick enough for those kind of tackles.

"He's an honest player, he's not one to go out and hurt anyone."

Long was red-carded in a league game against Derby County earlier this season.

COVENTRY CITY boss Chris Coleman was delighted with the impact of Gary Deegan as the former Bohemians man netted his first goal for the club to give them a 1-0 win over struggling QPR.

"Gary is only going to get better and he is starting to get to grips with this league," said Coleman, who paid Bohs €90,000 to sign the Dublin-born midfielder in December.