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Published: 11:04 | 8/4/16

Long back for Southampton

Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long is back in the Southampton squad for the Saints' Premier League clash with Newcastle at St Mary's on Saturday.

The 29-year-old forward suffered a minor knee injury while playing for his country against Slovakia on 29 March, but returns for the visit of Rafael Benitez's strugglers to St Mary's.

"Shane Long is back. He had a good week of training and he's back like normal," Koeman told the club's official website.

"It's a boost, because Shane is really a different striker than most of the strikers..

"He's fast and he's really with the total confidence in his game and that was showing before, and I hope that he will continue."

Koeman also confirmed that Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis will be sidelined for up to two weeks with an ankle injury he sustained in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Leicester City.

"He got it in the Leicester game and he will be out for one or two weeks and we have to wait, but he's not available for the weekend," Koeman continued.

"He's an important player who normally starts always. He's an experienced player, but injuries are part of football and we have enough competition to replace Steven Davis."

The Dutchman also suggested that the Saints may offer a new deal to England goalkeeper Fraser Forster, amid reported interest from Chelsea.

The 28-year-old has impressed since returning from a knee injury in January, conceding just nine goals in 12 matches including a run of six games without conceding.

When asked if a contract extension was on the cards for Forster, who signed a four-year deal from Celtic in 2014, Koeman told reporters: "That's a possibility, yes."

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