Reading director of football Nick Hammond has backed striker Shane Long to emulate former team-mate Kevin Doyle.

Hammond spent just £78,000 to sign the pair from Cork City in 2005 and believes Long has what it takes to rejoin Doyle - who left for Wolves for a club record £6.5million last summer - in the Premier League.

Hammond said: "Shane Long is an international player and over the second half of last season he grew immensely in my eyes."

He added: "We took him from Cork City the same time as Kevin Doyle and when we got him I absolutely believed he would go on to achieve what Kevin has achieved - I still believe that.

"He was a similar kind of player to Kevin and perhaps he had even more pace and power. In many ways they are similar players only Kevin showed that consistency from an early age.

"Now Shane has to try and find that consistency and become the player I know he can be."

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