Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has told reporters that striker Shane Long is recovering well and will be fit to return the following weekend, Sky Sports confirm.
The Republic of Ireland star was ruled out for up to four weeks after picking up an ankle ligament injury during Ireland’s recent international defeat to Poland.
However, after some close examination, the injury hasn’t been deemed as bad as first feared and Koeman now expects his striker to be ready for the south-coast derby with Bournemouth next weekend.
"Shane Long is still out. He is progressing well. The weekend is too soon to be available but I hope he will be fit again for the next weekend,” the Dutchman explained to Sky Sports.
The importance of Shane Long:
The former West Bromwich Albion star is an important member of Southampton’s team with his energetic style and hard work-rate fitting in well with Ronald Koeman’s style of play.
Long has only managed one Premier League start this season but he will soon get more game-time when he fully recovers from his injury.
Aside from being an obvious goal threat in the final third, the 28-year-old provides good foil for centre-forward Graziano Pelle with his movement integral for freeing up space for the Italian.
Long joined in 2014 and has gone on to play 47 times for the club in all competitions, scoring 11 goals.