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Shane longs to partner Doyle up front

SHANE Long is set to battle through the pain barrier for club and country.

Long (24) could not run freely when he arrived in Dublin to join the Irish camp and needed a pain-killing injection to play a part in Tuesday night's victory over Wales.

The Tipperary-born striker made light of the situation, but it's clear he has an ongoing problem, one he really doesn't need with Reading chasing promotion from the Championship and the Republic eager for European Championship qualifying points.

In fact, though he wouldn't admit it, there was probably more pain for Long in missing out on the chance to resume his partnership with former Reading team-mate Kevin Doyle for Ireland.

Speaking of the injury, Long said: "The injury is in my right hip. I had to get a few injections before the game to kill the pain.

"It's a bit sore out on the pitch, but you can get through it.

"Before the game I couldn't really run properly, but our physio back in Reading said I can't do any damage to it, so I never thought twice about it.

"It's one of those things that just takes a lot of time to heal, but when we're playing Tuesday and Saturday in the Championship, that doesn't give me time to rest up. I'd say it will probably be fine in a few weeks."

Kevin Doyle played the first half, and Long came on at half-time in the 3-0 win over Wales.

He was disappointed that, in the absence of Robbie Keane they didn't get their opportunity to show Trap their potential as an attacking duo.

"The gaffer said he wanted to have a look at Jonny (Walters) and that Kevin was having 45 minutes, and I was having 45 minutes," he said.

"As I was carrying that bit of a knock as well, it was probably better for me, but I just have to bide my time and when we get the chance to play togeth-er, just try and make the most of it.

"I love to play up front with Kevin. I feel we can both adapt our games to whatever the manager wants.

"Hopefully, we can get the chance to show what we can do in the future, but at the moment I'm just enjoying my football and trying to get my name on the team sheet from the start."

Long has 13 goals to his credit and has started 30 matches for his club so far this season.

Last Sunday, he was named 3/FAI Young International Player of the Year at the association's annual awards ceremony.

As well as Reading pushing for a promotion place, they're also due to play the winners of the Everton v Chelsea fourth-round FA Cup replay on March 1.

So his club boss Brian McDermott will hope the hip problem doesn't get any worse in the meantime.

Irish Independent