Long out of Ireland game
Shane Long has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovakia.
Last Updated: 02/09/11 1:05pm
Shane Long has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovakia after suffering a calf strain in training.
The in-form West Brom striker was set to win his 23rd cap after being named in Giovanni Trapattoni's starting line-up on Thursday ahead of Kevin Doyle.
However, the Italian coach has been forced to change his plans and bring Doyle in to start alongside Robbie Keane in Friday's vital Group B clash, which is live on Sky Sports HD3.
Long will remain with the squad and could yet be involved in Tuesday night's clash with Russia in Moscow.
Trapattoni had been concerned if Doyle had recovered physically and psychologically from the knee injury he suffered on international duty in March.
No injury fears
And while the Republic boss said on Thursday that the Wolves striker has shown he is not afraid of a relapse, he had intended to use him from the bench against Slovakia.
Doyle must now start and although he came through Saturday's 0-0 draw at Aston Villa unscathed, he could now face two big games in the space of five days.
Doyle has been one of Ireland's most reliable performers under Trapattoni, forging an excellent working relationship with Keane, and won his 41st cap against Macedonia in March.
Long's withdrawal is a second blow for Trapattoni, who has seen long-serving full-back Kevin Kilbane ruled out of both games because of a back strain.