Southampton striker Shane Long has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's upcoming European Championship qualifiers.
The loss of the striker due to a groin injury is a big blow for Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy ahead of the games with Gibraltar and Georgia.
McCarthy is already without Callum O’Dowda, Alan Browne and Ronan Curtis.
The 32-year-old has been replaced by Aiden O'Brien having failed to recover from the injury suffered in the 2-1 win over Tottenham.
A groin injury has forced Shane Long out of contention
David McGoldrick looks in pole position to start this week, the striker has scored 12 Championship goals for Sheffield United this season, the latest came in a recent 2-0 win over Brentford.
McCarthy knows the 31-year-old has a lot to offer:
“David is a very good player, very good technical player, he’s not had the best of times here because he was blighted by injuries.
“He had a few hamstring problems and he missed a few camps, to be fair to Chris [Wilder] he rotates his strikers, except Billy Sharp because he’s been the best of them, but he’s had a really good season and hopefully we’ll see the best of him with Ireland”
The news of Long’s withdrawal is not good for Premier League strugglers Southampton, they are 2 points above the relegation zone in 16th with eight games left to play.
Long's Ireland teammate Michael Obafemi is already sidelined while Danny Ings has only today returned to training following a hamstring injury suffered against Burnley last month.
SQUAD UPDATE: Aiden O'Brien has been called into the Ireland squad for the upcoming games against Gibraltar and Georgia. He replaces Shane Long who has pulled out with a groin injury. O'Brien will link up with the squad tomorrow #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/7tH0FRSaJP
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) March 19, 2019