A foot injury kept Shane Long out of action for Ireland during the recent international break but the Southampton striker could be back in action for his club tonight as they look for a second win of the season at home to Brighton.
If he plays, Long will look to continue a promising partnership with Danny Ings. The 26-year-old arrived at Southampton from Liverpool during the summer and so far has enjoyed playing with Long.
"The last couple of games he’s almost been like a battering ram at times," Ings told the Southern Daily Echo.
Long and Ings have started just two games together - a defeat to Leicester and a win against Crystal Palace - but the Englishman already likes what he sees from the Tipp man.
He’s been fighting with defenders, he’s crazy in the air, winning headers, and his work rate is exceptional.
Even with the goal, the run that he makes actually creates my goal [at Palace], so as a strike partner you appreciate that.
Ings has scored twice for Southampton so far this season. Long is yet to hit the net and he managed to do so just twice in 30 appearances last season.
The lack of goals doesn't worry Ings.
"I haven’t seen his stats but I’m sure they’re through the roof the way he’s been running around winning headers.
"He’s created chances for himself too, he’s been unlucky with a few chances.
"He’s been in the right place at the right time. For strikers it can be difficult sometimes when the chances you get aren’t going in, but that’s perfectly natural for strikers.
"What he brings to the team alongside that is just as important. His work rate, his effort. What he did against Palace was very good for the team. He won so many headers up there, held up the ball well and he made a really good disguised run for me for the goal I scored.
"As a striker in the modern day game I think you need a lot more than scoring goals now to maintain at this level and all the strikers at the club bring that."
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