Shane Long ruled out of Republic of Ireland's match in Austria

Shane Long of the Republic of Ireland
Shane Long has 71 caps and is regarded as the Republic of Ireland's top striker

Southampton striker Shane Long has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Austria on 12 November.

Long, 29, injured a hamstring during last week's Europa League defeat away to Inter Milan.

His absence is a big blow to Martin O'Neill as the Republic aim to build on their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Two of Dundalk's Europa League heroes - Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle - are in the provisional 35-man squad.

The Republic are second in Group D, level on seven points with leaders Serbia.

Long scored the first goal in the 3-1 win away to Moldova, which followed an opening draw in Serbia and home victory over Georgia.

Republic of Ireland's 2018 World Cup qualifiers
12 November 2016Austria (away)
24 March 2017Wales (home)
11 JuneAustria (home)
2 SeptemberGeorgia (away)
5 SeptemberSerbia (home)
6 OctoberMoldova (home)
9 OctoberWales (away)

Manager O'Neill said Everton midfielder was an injury doubt for the match in Vienna because of a hamstring problem.

Last month, Everton boss Ronald Koeman criticised the Irish manager for starting the 25-year-old Glasgow-born player for two qualifiers in four days.

Responding on Wednesday, O'Neill said: "James had declared himself fit. He played the first game and came off in the second, not because he was injured but because he was tired.

"And, remarkably, he trained the very day their manager was bleating about it.

"I have included James at this minute. Speaking to him, James is improving day-by-day. If the game for instance was this weekend, he wouldn't make it.

"The following weekend? I would say he would be doubtful at this minute. He needs to get some proper training in."

Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, aiming for his first competitive start, is back in the Republic squad.

Republic of Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: D Randolph (West Ham United), K Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), C Doyle (Bradford City), I Lawlor (Manchester City), D Rogers (Falkirk)

Defenders: S Coleman (Everton), C Christie, R Keogh, A Pearce (Derby County), J O'Shea (Sunderland), C Clark (Newcastle United), P McShane (Reading), S Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), A Boyle (Dundalk), S Ward (Burnley)

Midfielders: A McGeady (Preston North End), J McClean (West Bromwich Albion), J Hendrick (Burnley), J McCarthy (Everton), S Quinn (Reading), G Whelan (Stoke City), H Arter (Bournemouth), E O'Kane (Leeds United), D Meyler (Hull City), S Gleeson (Birmingham City), C Hourihane (Barnsley), R Brady, W Hoolahan (Norwich City), C O'Dowda (Bristol City), J Hayes (Aberdeen), D Horgan (Dundalk)

Forwards: J Walters (Stoke City), A Rooney (Aberdeen), K Doyle (Colorado Rapids), D McGoldrick (Ipswich Town).

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