Monday 23 October 2017

Rovers line-up to reflect hectic schedule

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MICHAEL O'NEILL will make a few changes to his Shamrock Rovers team for what is expected to be their Europa League swansong against Juventus this evening.

The Northern Irishman admits that the exertions of a hectic schedule are playing on his mind, particularly with the small matter of a potentially decisive league meeting with arch rivals Bohemians this Sunday.

He is realistic about the chances of clawing back the two-goal deficit from their first-leg meeting with Juventus and will shuffle his pack accordingly.

Midfield is the area of concern, with Stephen Bradley in the frame to replace Robert Bayly or Chris Turner, and Billy Dennehy in line to come into a wide berth with Thomas Stewart -- who picked up a knock in Sunday's 3-3 draw with Sporting Fingal -- perhaps facing a rest. Another option, which O'Neill is understood to be considering, is leaving top scorer Gary Twigg on the bench

"It does come into it," said O'Neill of the schedule. "We'll have to utilise the squad because of the number of games we've had and the mental fatigue we have. We'll have to have one eye on Sunday and we'll have to freshen things up."

Juventus coach Luigi Delneri plans to field a similar team to the selection which enjoyed a 2-0 success in Dublin last Thursday.

While local press reports suggested that Alessandro Del Piero had been promised a start, the manager batted away that speculation and admitted that he is trying to grow the partnership between Diego and goal hero Amauri (left) which proved so effective in his first competitive game in charge.

"I do like them playing together," he said. "It's a solution that I like. I think Diego has proven his ability to play in a more forward role. It's a new version of him that I like. In Ireland, he allowed Amauri to score the first goal and he threatened many times. It's a scheme that I like.

"I'm not used to changing a winning team," he continued. "I'm very happy with the team that has played well last week, and I think I'll keep it like this now. It doesn't make sense to change them."

JUVENTUS (probable) -- Storari; Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Lanzafame, Sissoko, Marchisio, Pepe; Diego; Amauri.

SHAMROCK ROVERS (probable) -- Mannus; Sives, Murray, Price, Stevens; Chambers, Rice, Turner, Bradley, Dennehy; Twigg.

Juventus v Shamrock Rovers,

Live, RTE 2, 7.45

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