Sunday 22 April 2018

Watch: Dundalk are battling against the sub-zero conditions in Russia

A general view of Dundalk players before the start of squad training at Stadion Pertrovskiy in St Petersburg
A general view of Dundalk players before the start of squad training at Stadion Pertrovskiy in St Petersburg

Aidan Fitzmaurice in St Petersburg

Stephen Kenny insists that the sub-zero temperatures and snows of the Russian winter will not derail his Dundalk side in their ambitions of making it into the group stages of the Europa League.

Dundalk take on Zenit in St Petersburg tomorrow night, where the wind chill factor in a game which kicks off at 9pm local time will test the resolve of his squad, Dundalk already up against it by facing a Zenit team who are the highest-ranked team in the competition and one of only three clubs in the Europa League to have won all three group games to date.

Kenny was in jovial mood when he faced the media in the 22,000-capacity Petrovsky Stadium on Wednesday evening, batting away odd questions from Russian reporters about how he celebrated his birthday last week and how some of his players manage to combine their football careers with day jobs outside of the game.

The snow and cold air around the players as they trained here gave an indication of how tough it will be on Thursday night but Kenny's not concerned.

"It's been a great experience for us, getting through the Champions League qualifiers and we could easily be in the Champions League now, we had a narrow defeat and were unfortunate not to be part of it," said Kenny.

"Now we are here and we have to come St Petersburg with the snow, that's part of the attraction and it's exciting, we go to Israel in a few weeks in what will be a contrasting climate, but we look forward to it. We see it as a challenge, part of the challenge for us to do well," added Kenny, keen to stress that the Zenit game is just part of a double header than includes Sunday'a FAI Cup final.

"It's a fantastic week for us, this is the week we wanted," says the Oriel Park boss.

"When we saw the fixtures, we wanted this, to play Zenit and then go home to play in the Cup final in our national stadium, the aim is to be successful on both counts, to win tomorrow and win the Cup on Sunday, that would be a dream for us."

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