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Reading's Shane Long keeps his new year resolution

Shane Long
Long failed to net in 13 games this season prior to his recent run

Reading striker Shane Long has kept to his New Year's resolution with two more goals as the Royals beat Plymouth Argyle 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium.

After a goalless start to the season, Long has found the net five times in 2010, including holding his nerve to net an injury-time penalty on Tuesday.

He told BBC Berkshire: "When the new year came round I said 'let's make it a good year and turn my season around'.

"The luck's going my way too and it's making a big difference."

Republic of Ireland international Long, 23, added that he was determined to take the penalty, after Hal Robson-Kanu was fouled in injury time.

He said: "I knew I wanted to take it. With Gylfi [Sigurdsson] out of the team there was a space open. Brian Howard and Jobi McAnuff were eager to take it as well, but I got my hands on the ball and felt confident and it was nice to slot it away.

"I've practised a lot in training with [Royals keeper] Adam Federici. He tells me which way he thinks I'm going to go.

"The straight run-up puts the keeper off and I sent him the wrong way as you saw. Practice makes perfect."

Reading stay in the bottom three of the Championship despite the win.

Next for them is a home tie in the fifth round of the FA Cup against West Brom and Long said the cup remains important to them.

He said: "Since I've been here we've never had a good run in the cup. To keep winning games is a good thing.

"It's going to be hard - West Brom are a great team. We know we're going to have to be on top of our game to get through to the next round.

"After that we've two games against Palace and Scunthorpe - teams around us - so there are games we could easily win and lift ourselves right up the table. But we'll look to Saturday first and build from there."

Royals manager Brian McDermott was delighted with the former Cork City striker's impact.

He said: "I think he's just starting to see what he's about. When we took him, we knew he had pace and natural power.

"Everything about his game is natural but you need to simplify it for him. He knows where he stands with me.

"He's a great guy. He's working really hard. He's working on his fitness, and is getting his rewards."



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