Town facing Football League’s most dangerous player tonight
IPSWICH Town go head-to-head with arguably the most dangerous player in the Football League right now when Shane Long visits Portman Road with his Reading team for a Championship fixture tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
After his two goals in a cracking 5-2 home win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, Long has now scored 21 goals for club and country this season.
Long, 24, has notched 17 goals in the league for Reading, and if he makes that 20 he will be the first Reading player in ten years to score 20 league goals.
On top of that he has two goals in the FA Cup, as well as a further two strikes on the international stage for the Republic of Ireland.
His manager Brian McDermott said: “Shane has been phenomenal.
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“He’s got a great work ethic, he’s strong, he’s playing with injuries but you’d never know it.
“He’s the type of bloke who would play today, tomorrow and the day after.
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“Shane took hell of a tackle on Saturday and we weren’t sure he would come out for the second half, but he carried on and scored two goals.
“In fact, I felt a bit guilty taking him off when he was on a hat-trick but I just said to him that I needed him to face Ipswich.”
Town boss Paul Jewell is well aware of the danger posed by Long, and he said: “If we had someone who had scored 17 league goals we would be somewhere near the play-off’s right now.
“He has a manager who is getting the best out of him and the rest of the side and it will be a tough game for us.
“Brian McDermott keeps low key but has done a great job and I’m full of admiration for him.
“It’s difficult when you move up the ladder within a club with some people perhaps wanting more and he had to prove himself.
“And in Noel Hunt and Shane Long they have aggressive and hungry strikers and are playing a system that suits them.”
Tonight’s likely squads
Ipswich Town: Fulop, Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, O’Dea, Martin, Norris, Leadbitter, Bullard, Wickham, Scotland, Lee-Barrett, Smith, Peters, O’Connor, Drury, Civelli, Hyam, Priskin, Brown.
Reading: McCarthy, Mills, Harte, Khizanishvili, Leigertwood, Tabb, Kebe, Robson-Kanu, Gunnarsson, Hunt, Long, Church, Antonio, Manset, Andersen, Karacan, Howard, Morrison, McAnuff, Armstrong.
Referee: Mr D McDermid (Hampshire)
Ipswich home league record against Reading
P22 W13 D4 L5 F41 A28