One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
If we’re talking about West Bromwich Albion then the presence of Shane Long will be sorely missed.
The barbaric lunge of Alan Hutton might have gone unpunished – by the Football Association or by his club, who by doing nothing pretty much endorsed thuggery – yet Long’s lay-off opens up the door for Simon Cox, for club and for country.
Not only will Albion be ruing the loss of Long but the Republic of Ireland, already without the injured Robbie Keane and suspended Kevin Doyle, must tackle Estonia in their Euro 2012 play-off double-header without the in-form Baggies striker.
Yet all is not lost.
Cox has been waiting patiently on the periphery for his club.
He played a part in Ireland’s recent game against Armenia.
Roy Hodgson is ready to use the player he regards highly, not least for his ability to play the waiting game.
“This pushes him nearer to the team,” said the Albion manager.
“He’s been involved in every game so far but with him, Peter Odemwingie, Long and Somen Tchoyi we have four strikers competing for two places so he’s not had much of a look in.
“But with Long out it brings him much closer and furthermore I must say his training has been very good.
“His desire and enthusiasm have also been there and when he gets his chance I’m sure he’ll be ready to take it.
“So it’s important for us that he maintains his level because there is also the Irish game coming up and he looks like he will bethe major influence, along with Jon Walters – certainly if Robbie Keane doesn’t recover in time.”
Hodgson concedes the loss of Long will be felt.
The 64-year-old could not contain his feelings following last weekend’s game against Villa.
His anger was understandable – he thought the striker’s injury was far worse than eventually diagnosed.
Long is expected to be out for about a month although, in the worst case scenario, he could be sidelined until early December.
He added: “I was a bit relieved though six weeks is still a lot.
“If it takes six weeks to clear that is still a lot of games to miss – possibly up to about six games.
“So it’s a blow for us because Peter and he were starting to find a bit of form.
“You don’t take the situation lightly but we know it could have been a lot worse.
“The ideal situation would have been no injury but if there has got to be one then at least it’s not a serious break or ligament damage.
“Of course Ireland need him because they have doubts about Keane, and Doyle is suspended.
“So it’s a blow for them and a big blow to Shane because he is a very patriotic Irishman who was looking forward to helping his team get to the European finals.
“It looks like they can fill the gap and maybe our Simon Cox can help them.”
One player who will not be returning is Chris Wood, who is enjoying a loan spell at Blues.
He added: “To bring him back now would be the wrong thing to do and he’s getting so much playing time at Birmigham and using it very wisely. It’s a situation that suits all parties.”