Shane Long looking dismayed at Deepdale

Bournemouth head coach Jonathan Woodgate has revealed, as many suspected, that Shane Long was absent from the squad that faced Huddersfield on Tuesday evening due to injury.

The 34-year-old Republic of Ireland international missed the game with a groin problem and was not named amongst the substitutes. He will have scans on the muscular issue ahead of Saturday’s trip to East Anglia to face Norwich City.

When asked about Long’s absence, Woodgate answered: “He’s got a slight groin issue. We are not at the bottom of it yet.

“We’ve got to find out more about it in the week and when he gets scans, so we will see how he is.”

Long has found game time hard to come by since joining Bournemouth on loan from Southampton in the January window. He has made just nine appearances – mostly from the bench – scoring two goals.

His last appearance in a Bournemouth shirt was on Good Friday in the 3-1 victory over Woodgate’s former side Middlesbrough. He was used as a substitute, coming on for Dominic Solanke in the 85th minute with the outcome of the game all but decided.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Long. He is out of contract in May and will be desperate to prove to any potential suitors that at 34 years old, he still has plenty to offer.

Fortunately, due to the play-offs, it looks like Long’s season will be extended slightly, offering him the opportunity to get back fit and prove his worth. Bournemouth are on a five-game winning streak in the Championship and find themselves in fifth position, five points clear of Reading in seventh.  

After an inconsistent and unconvincing start to life at the Vitality, Woodgate has turned things around. His side are now looking nailed on for play-off qualification and, given the form that they’re in, with the talent they have, it is hard to be look past them.

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