World Cup hitman to give Students a searching test
The prospect of facing a striker who has scored four times in a World Cup finals tournament perhaps best sums up the task facing UCD at the Stadión Pasienky against record Slovak champions and cup winners Slovan Bratislava tonight.
The striker in question is the 80-times capped 33-year-old Róbert Vittek, who counts those four World Cup goals in South Africa five years ago among 23 in total for Slovakia.
Partnering him up front this evening could well be ex-Watford and Ipswich forward Tamás Priskin, who has 16 strikes in 49 appearances for Hungary.
"I never saw a side like Dudelange, the way they counter-attacked," said defensive midfielder Gary O'Neill of UCD's first-round opponents, whom they put out on the away goals rule last week following a tenacious rearguard action with ten men in Luxembourg.
"And Slovan Bratislava will probably be able to do that two or three times better. There is no doubt about it - they are a quality side. But we're very confident that we can cause an upset."
Manager Collie O'Neill also believes that UCD have a chance if they get their tactics right.
"Having done all our analysis, yes, they are definitely a step, if not two, up," said O'Neill.
"But they have some weak points as well. We have a plan to try to stop them from playing."
While left-backs Ryan McLaughlin and Sean Coyne are injured and suspended respectively and didn't travel, defenders Michael Leahy (ankle) and Tomas Boyle (knee) are expected to be passed fit.
UCD (probable) - Corbet; Leahy, Boyle, Kouogun, Langtry; O'Neill; Mulhall, Watts, Benson, Doyle; Swan.
Slovan Bratislava v UCD,
Live, Setanta Ireland, 7.15