West Brom striker Shane Long emerges as a fitness concern ahead of World Cup qualifiers - report

The Baggies striker has emerged as a doubt ahead of Ireland's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria, according to his club manager, Steve Clarke
West Bromich Albion striker Shane Long could miss Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualification games against Sweden and Austria after doubts emerged over the player's fitness, according to a report in the Irish Independent.

Long was named in Giovanni Trapattoni's provisional squad for the qualification games, but his participation may be under threat due to a recurring injury complaint.

The 26-year-old suffered an ankle injury during his side's clash with Sunderland on February 23 and has yet to fully recover from the knock. However, Baggies' boss Steve Clarke hinted that he could be fit for the World Cup qualifiers on March 22 and 26.

"He is doubtful for the weekend," Clarke told reporters. "I spoke to the doctor and he said that if Shane has a good day, he might be able to do a spot of training which would put him in the frame for Stoke (on Saturday, March 16).

"He has been selected for the Irish squad and that is another week down the line, so it is possible he could be fit for them," added the West Brom manager.

The Republic of Ireland take on Sweden on Friday, March 22 before hosting Austria in Dublin on Tuesday, March 26.