Saturday 10 December 2016

Kenny keen to upset the odds as Dundalk aim to make Europa mark

Daniel McDonnell in Alkmaar

Published 15/09/2016 | 02:30

Kenny invited the fans onto the team bus so they could make the rest of the trip to Dublin Airport and catch their flight. Photo: Sportsfile
Kenny invited the fans onto the team bus so they could make the rest of the trip to Dublin Airport and catch their flight. Photo: Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny hopes that appearances deceive Dundalk's opponents as they start their Europa League group stage campaign in Holland this evening.

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The League of Ireland champions are the lowest-ranked side left in the competition and are massive underdogs against AZ Alkmaar.

Kenny accepts that his team will be expected to finish at the foot of a group that also contains Zenit St Petersburg and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

But he feels that his players are capable of making their mark, even if it's inevitable that wealthy opponents will look at them in a different light because of their modest resources.

"Most neutral observers would think we have very little chance," said Kenny last night. "And maybe if someone visits our ground and sees that it's small and old compared to the stadiums they play in every week, that's the natural conclusion they draw.

"They would feel they (the other three sides) are much bigger clubs and inevitably they would see it as a formality that we would be bottom.

"I can't argue that it's how people would think about it but we've shown consistently this season against good teams that we've been able to more than match them and it's our ambition to try and get some results and see where it takes us.

"Obviously Irish teams don't qualify for group stages and things like that but what we've shown is our ability to go up against teams.

"Are AZ better than BATE Borisov? Are they better than Legia Warsaw? That's open to interpretation."

Eight hundred Dundalk fans have made the trip to Holland and they are expected to make themselves heard in the AFAS Stadium.

A bunch of supporters were helped on their trip by Kenny and Dundalk staff when they spotted a minibus broken down on the side of the M1 yesterday morning.

Kenny invited the fans onto the team bus so they could make the rest of the trip to Dublin Airport and catch their flight.

Irish Independent

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