Robins wary of Long danger as Hassell returns

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BARNSLEY boss Mark Robins believes every team should have a Shane Long.

The Reading striker visits Oakwell tomorrow looking to add to his impressive 20-goal haul this term.

And Robins knows just how much of a potent threat Long will pose as the Reds looks to stretch their three-game unbeaten run.

“Every team should have a Shane Long, he’s a very good player,” Robins told The Star.

“He works his socks off and that’s what you’ve got to do as a striker to get your opportunities. He is going to be a real threat for them and they’ve got Noel Hunt as well, so we know it’s going to be tough.

“But it’s up to us to make sure their two centre-halves know they’ve been in a game and for us to perform like we can do. It is always about us.”

Republic of Ireland international Long has scored 18 goals in the Championship this season and bagged five of those in his last five games.

And with midfielder Hunt having chipped in with eight goals this campaign, it is little wonder the Royals are 11th in the table and confident of securing a play-off place having gone six games unbeaten in the league.

“They are [Reading] a good side, they’ve got some good players and a big squad,” added Robins.

Brian McDermott replaced Brendan Rodgers as the Royals’ new manager in December 2009 - and as well as pushing for the play-offs, the club also reached the FA Cup quarter-finals this year having dumped out former winners Everton along the way.

“I don’t know much about Brian, but he’s done a good job there,” said Robins. “They’re talking about getting into the play-offs and playing well, but I’d settle now if we ground out a 1-0 win.

“We’ve played well this season and not won like against Leicester, but then we’ve beaten Scunthorpe and that wasn’t a great performance from us. But we have got nine games to go and 27 points to play for. We finished on 54 points last season and we want to better that.”

The Reds are boosted by the return of versatile defender Bobby Hassell. He has trained this week after shaking off a calf injury.

And with Hull City loan defender Paul McShane a serious doubt for the weekend with a hamstring injury, Hassell could be asked to fit in at centre-back if needed.