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McDonnell: Faroes will not be worried by Ireland and will create chances

FORMER Faroe Islands coach John McDonnell believes that Ireland are in for another difficult night in Torshavn tomorrow.

McDonnell spent two years working with the Faroes as assistant manager to Brian Kerr and, despite his departure, retains a fondness for and an insight into their national side, and while he predicts a three-point haul for a demoralised Ireland side, he is wary of what's ahead.

"The Faroes have a chance, they always have a chance at home especially with their artificial pitch," says McDonnell.

"They don't get fazed by the opposition, they are used to the opposing side having the ball and running them around the pitch.

"They are honest players who are technically and tactically better now than they had in the past. When they get on the ball they will create chances. They are used to playing against top international teams who use sophisticated systems and they won't be worried by Ireland that much," added McDonnell, who is concerned that fitness could be a factor for the home side.

"What we used to find was with the double-headers it was tough for them as they're part-time players, the Sweden game on Friday will have drained them and that will be a problem for them.

"Sweden got a late goal there on Friday night, there are no easy games any more. When we were working there we tried to bring technical players through, like Rogvi Baldvinsson, the guy who scored against Sweden the other night.

"I spoke to someone from the Faroes' technical staff the other day and he spoke about their game against Germany, the Germans beat them 3-0 and technically they just passed the ball all night, ran them around the pitch and punished them when gaps opened up. But the Faroes were more organised than Ireland were the other night.

"Before the Germany game I'd have said that Ireland were going from playing one of the best teams in the world to one of the lowest-ranked and that might have been a problem.

"But their concentration levels should be spot on now as they need the three points."

McDonnell says he was surprised that Trapattoni ditched his traditional 4-4-2 formation to play a five-man midfield against Germany on Friday.

"I think Trapattoni should have stuck to his principle of 4-4-2, especially against the Germans as they are the one team you don't want to open up against. That's the game where we should have been tight and solid, tried to frustrate them.

"Keith Fahey was given a holding role to deal with Mesut Ozil, but Keith is the player least likely to defend in the team, he's an offensive player. He did okay and he tracked Ozil but Keith is the last player I'd pick to mark Ozil.

"We needed to keep it tight but instead we were all over the shop," added McDonnell, the former Pat's boss who has been linked with the vacancy at Shamrock Rovers.

"It's not over yet; if they win tomorrow night they have six points from the first three games and when you look at the fixture list you'd be happy with that, but the issue is how we went about it and how we played. To me it has gone a bit stale, the morale among the players is low."