Euro 2012 - Ireland call up Best for play-off

Thu, 03 Nov 15:32:00 2011

Leon Best has been called up by the Republic of Ireland for their Euro 2012 qualification play-off against Estonia.

Leon Best - 0

The Newcastle striker, who has scored three goals in nine Premier League appearances this season to help the Magpies up to third in the table, has been brought in due to serious concerns over the fitness of Shane Long and Robbie Keane.

West Brom striker Long was a surprise inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad after suffering a knee injury following a bad challenge from Aston Villa’s Alan Hutton nearly two weeks ago.

Keane missed Ireland's final group match against Armenia with a strained adductor muscle. Despite recovering to play in LA Galaxy's MLS play-off match against New York Red Bulls, Ireland's record goal scorer remains a doubt for the two-legged tie.

Wolves striker Kevin Doyle is suspended for the first leg in Tallinn.

Sunderland defender John O’Shea has a hamstring injury and will definitely miss the Premier League match against former club Manchester United at the weekend.

Baggies assistant boss Michael Appleton claimed he would be "very surprised" if Long recovered ahead of schedule, with the club having predicted a six-week absence and the play-offs coming in nine days.

"It is one of those injuries you really have to be cautious with," Appleton said. "Shane is doing everything the physios are asking him to do. He is working hard on the bikes but has not done any impact stuff.

"I have seen players come back from injuries ahead of when they are expected to.

"But I would be very surprised if Shane is available for the Ireland game. He will have to make a massive recovery in the next week or so."

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce said of O’Shea: "It's not that bad. We think it's a normal grade one.

"He's certainly got no chance for Saturday and looking at the first game for Ireland next Friday, I would have thought he's a huge doubt for that as well, which is a shame for the lad.

The first leg of the play-off is in Tallinn on November 11 with the return in Dublin four days later.

PA Sport / Eurosport

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