Monday 20 January 2020

Stephen Kenny faces selection headache after training ground injury further reduces attacking options

Daniel McDonnell in Warsaw

Dundalk's plans for tomorrow's Champions League second leg with Legia Warsaw have been complicated by the loss of striker Ciaran Kilduff to an injury sustained in training on Saturday.

Kenny is anxiously waiting to learn the extent of a knee problem that could have an impact on his attacking options for the rest of the season.

In the short term, he enters the daunting task of attempting to overturn a 2-0 deficit with just one senior striker - Dave McMillan - at his disposal. Local youngsters Ciaran and Michael O'Connor are now the back-up options.

With Stephen O'Donnell already ruled out through suspension, the Kilduff problem is a major headache for the Dundalk manager. The front man has already spent a good portion of this campaign on the sidelines with a freak back injury and he picked up the latest ailment after coming out on the wrong side of a tackle in an 11 v 11 training match in Abbotstown on Saturday.

"That was a big setback," said Kenny. “We never really get injuries in training even though we always have very committed sessions. It’s just one of those things. He’s had a scan today so we’ll see how he is.”

"It's his knee. I'd be only speculating, which is dangerous, but we're hoping it's not too serious. It’s some sort of strain of his lateral ligament, so we’ll see how it is.”

Kenny is determined to put out an attacking side in search of a miracle and a lucrative place in the group stages of Europe's premier competition.

He also faces dilemma in the centre of defence with Brian Gartland pushing for a recall after recovering from a broken wrist although his replacement Paddy Barrett has performed well as a stand-in option.

"Brian has been one of the main leaders in the team and has such a strong personality that it's been difficult for him," said Kenny. "Paddy has performed well. These are decisions you have to make and there are other decisions too. Ronan Finn is back now and is capable of being very influential also."

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