BOSS Jonathan Woodgate was pleased to see Shane Long get off the mark for Cherries and insisted the striker was still building his match fitness.

Long, who signed on loan from Saints late in the transfer window earlier this month, netted what proved to be a consolation effort in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Queens Park Rangers.

The 34-year-old bundled home from close range after latching on to Sam Surridge’s cushion header.

The Tipperary-born star also completed 90 minutes at Loftus Road.

Asked how pleasing it was to see Long open his account for Cherries, Woodgate told the Daily Echo: “Without a doubt. He’s just getting back to fitness really.

“He hasn’t played a lot of minutes, so it was important for him to get 90 into his legs. It was good that he scored.”

Long had to wait just short of a year to find the net in a competitive game.

Before striking on Saturday, his most recent goal came in a 2-0 victory for Saints over Aston Villa on February 22, 2020.

But with the frontman’s game time limited over the past 12 months, Woodgate was keen to brush off that statistic.

He added: “You can say almost a year but how many 90 minutes in that year? You can’t really say stuff like that.

“But he scored, so it’s good for the football club.”