Saturday 16 December 2017

Kenny ponders gamble over McEleney and Finn fitness

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

All Dundalk's players have declared themselves fit for the game of their lives, but Stephen Kenny is facing into some difficult decisions.

Brian Gartland's return from a broken wrist is a boost - he will wear a specially approved cast - but Paddy Barrett has performed well in his absence.

Meanwhile, Patrick McEleney and Ronan Finn trained with the group at the Aviva Stadium after overcoming groin issues, yet Kenny must weigh up the risk element in their inclusion in case it ends up wasting a substitution and jeopardising their overall prospects for progression.

"That might not just be damaging for the second leg but damaging for the game as well," he explained.


"It's not an exact science. With these things, you have to make the measured decisions you feel are right for the game itself."

It was an injury to Finn in the second leg with BATE Borisov that opened the door for McEleney to come in and make a huge impression, and Kenny may now have to choose between the pair, although it's likely they will both have a role to play.

Kenny has identified Legia's strength in wide areas as their main threat and Dundalk trained at the FAI's headquarters in Abbotstown over the weekend because the dimensions are the same as the Aviva.

He expects that two from international trio Steeven Langil (Martinique), Mihail Aleksandrov (Bulgaria) and Michal Kucharczyk (Poland) will start, with the other brought on later in the match.

Hungarian striker Nemanja Nikolic featured at the Euros along with experienced Polish defender Michal Pazdan and midfielder Tomasz Jodlowiec.

Irish Independent

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