Saturday 24 August 2019

Dundalk boss Perth expects Michael Duffy to feature in crucial Euro clash despite baby delay

Michael Duffy of Dundalk during the UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round 1st Leg match between Dundalk and Riga at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Co Louth. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Michael Duffy of Dundalk during the UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round 1st Leg match between Dundalk and Riga at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Co Louth. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

DUNDALK boss Vinny Perth expects that star winger Michael Duffy will be available for tomorrow's crunch Champions League qualifier with Riga but the Derryman has yet to leave Ireland.

Duffy stayed behind after his partner Emily was called into hospital ahead of the birth of his first child.

The baby has yet to be born and Dundalk have lined up options for the 24-year-old to arrive in the Latvian capital in time for the match via either Belfast or Dublin.

But Perth says that the League of Ireland champions have also worked on a Plan B in case key man Duffy doesn't make it.

"We expect him to be part of the matchday squad," said Perth ahead of training today.

'We trained Saturday and Sunday and Michael was in and out of those sessions for different reasons."

Dundalk's head coach is likely to make changes to the team that fired a blank in the scoreless first leg at Oriel Park. They need to bag an away goal here to progress.

Sean Gannon spent part of the pre-match training session away from the rest of the group but the right full is expected to be fine.

It's the other defensive positions that Perth has to think about with the experienced Andy Boyle, Brian Gartland and Dane Massey pushing for involvement after missing out on the first match. The returning Boyle did get the nod for the second half in the reshuffle caused by a facial injury to Chris Shields.

Massey has shared duties with Dean Jarvis this year and the left back admits that has been hard to take at times.

"I had to get the head down during the week and try and impress Vinny, John Gill and Ruaidhri Higgins and show them I was the right solution for the away game," said Massey.

"As a group, we're going in confident. We've always played our best football when we know we have to score. This pitch here will suit us."

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