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Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Thursday, 31 March 2011 13:31 UK

Reading's Shane Long pledges 'more to come' from him

Shane Long
Long scored the Republic of Ireland's opening goal against Uruguay

Reading striker Shane Long says he has more to give as the Royals gear for a Championship play-off challenge.

Long has scored 20 goals in 41 club appearances this season and found the net for the Republic of Ireland against Uruguay on Tuesday night.

He told BBC Berkshire: "It all comes down to club level - it gives you that confidence going into internationals.

"There's more to come. I'm learning every day and every 90 minutes I play I learn something new."

Long struggled to score early on in the season, finding the net just twice for Reading up to the end of October, but the 24-year-old said his confidence was never in doubt.

"I always felt like I was playing well at the start of the season when the ball wasn't hitting the net," he said.

"Strikers go through that period in their career. I knew that if I kept doing the things that I was doing then the goals would come. Luckily they have been recently and long may that continue."

Long's seven goals in Reading's last eight Championship have helped take them to seventh in the table, three points off the play-off places with a game in hand on most teams around them.

This weekend they host Portsmouth, another team with play-off aspirations.

"After the win at Barnsley, everyone around us lost which catapulted us up the table. But to make that win count then we have to win on Saturday and put ourselves right up there," Long added.

"It's not going to be easy - at the start of the season they struggled a bit but you always knew with the quality of players they have that sooner or later they'd kick on.

"There's a lot of teams pushing for that fifth and sixth place in the play-offs and if you take your foot off the gas at any stage you could be overtaken."

Reading v Portsmouth kicks off at 1500 BST on Saturday, 2 April and is live on BBC Radio Berkshire.

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see also
Reading boss signs improved deal
30 Mar 11 |  Reading
Rep of Ireland 2-3 Uruguay
30 Mar 11 |  Football
Trapattoni hails beaten Republic
30 Mar 11 |  Football
Howard aims to stay with Reading
22 Mar 11 |  Reading
Barnsley 0-1 Reading
19 Mar 11 |  Championship

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