Wednesday 16 November 2011
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson has been buoyed by the news that Shane Long will only be sidelined for six weeks after fearing a much longer lay-off.
The striker suffered a knee injury in a challenge from Alan Hutton during Saturday's west midlands derby against Aston Villa, a tackle which Hodgson believes should have merited a red card.
However, the 24-year-old could return to action by early December - although he is likely to miss the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 play-off matches against Estonia.
Hodgson said: "I was a bit relieved although six weeks is still a lot. It means he will still possibly miss six games.
"You don't take the situation lightly - but we know it could have been a lot worse. The ideal scenario would have been no injury at all but, if there has got to be one, at least it's not a serious break or ligament damage."
Hodgson said Albion had "no plans at the moment" to recall striker Chris Wood from his loan spell at Birmingham City after Long's setback.
Meanwhile, Hodgson is hoping another West Brom striker, Simon Cox, can help Ireland overcome Long's absence.
He said: "It is a blow for them and a big blow to Shane who is a very patriotic Irishman who was looking forward to helping his country get to the European finals.
"But it looks like they can fill the gap and maybe Simon Cox can help them."
Meanwhile, Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans is expected to return to training on Thursday after missing the Villa match with a knee injury.