Shane Long says he’s pleased to be back in contention after injury and is hoping to fire Saints to a successful end to the campaign.
The forward suffered broken ribs during an FA Cup encounter with Crystal Palace in mid-January, making his first appearance since the injury in Saturday’s loss to former club West Bromwich Albion.
“It’s not until you’re not doing something that you really miss it, and three weeks was long enough,” Long told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.
“I’m glad that I’m not feeling any more pain and the ribs are fine, so I’m just raring to go now.
“It was tough looking out the window watching the lads training and watching the games because it’s hard not to be able to get out there and make an impact.
“I suppose it was all set up to come on and score the equaliser,” Long added of Saturday’s trip the Hawthorns – his first return to his old stomping ground since leaving Albion last January.
“Fair play to West Brom – they’ve seen the game out well because they’re tough to break down at times, and even though we had a few chances, we didn’t manage to take them.
“It was disappointing for us, but something that we’re hoping to put right on Tuesday.”
Coincidentally, that game is against Palace – the side Long suffered his injury against – and the Irishman is looking forward to the opportunity to get back to winning ways after a disappointed recent run of form.
“We went into Saturday thinking that two wins would put us right on course of the end of the season, but the weekend kind of put a dampener on it,” he admitted.
“We’ve had a bit of a dip in form and not picked up the results we know we deserve, so it all starts on Tuesday night by putting that right and getting three points. We’re looking up, rather than looking down.
“[Palace] are a good team,” he continued. “Since Alan Pardew’s come in, he’s really got some good results out of them.
“They’re hard to break down and I’m sure they’ll come down and make it really tough for us by hitting us on the counter and pressuring us up high at times.
“We have to be right on our game and take our chances when they come our way and then hopefully we can see it out.
“It’d be a shame to put ourselves in this position two-thirds of the way through the season and not see it out, so we’re all determined behind the scenes to make sure that we give ourselves every chance.”