JOHNNY McDONNELL has been forced to turn to new signing John Murphy a little earlier than he would have liked as he throws the striker into the mix for tonight's Uefa Cup tie with Swedish outfit Elfsborg.
The St Patrick's Athletic manager is struggling to fill the lone striking berth as Gary O'Neill has not travelled to Boras while an ankle injury to Glen Fitzpatrick has flared up after Sunday's defeat to Drogheda United in the league.
Irish under-23 international Mark Quigley and the American striker Ryan Guy are other options, but McDonnell is set to pick Murphy even if he only has 25 minutes of action under his belt since moving to St Pat's from Chester City last month.
"I think that we'll try to be solid at the start and I think we might end up starting with John (Murphy)," explained McDonnell from the team's hotel yesterday. "I think we'll start with John up top.
"We did a fair bit of work on the shape yesterday and we were able to have a look at that. Mark Quigley will drop off and it will probably be similar to the way that we played in Derry recently. It will be something like that."
Another one of McDonnell's signings in the July transfer window, Jason Gavin is likely to start beside captain Jamie Harris in defence; the exploits of Gavin's former club Drogheda have certainly acted as a spur to St Pat's.
McDonnell is confident his side can score an away goal, even though Elfsborg have conceded only one at the Boras Arena in nine league games and two European ties this season.
"I look at the Drogheda situation and I take confidence out of it. We must take confidence out of it," said McDonnell.
Elfsborg's synthetic pitch is another obstacle standing in the way of Pat's. The team trained at the 18,000-capacity arena last night, the first time they had the opportunity test themselves on the surface.
The sun was out for the session, but the Irish summer seems to have travelled to Scandinavia as it rained for most of yesterday and there is more rain forecast for tonight.
© 2008 The Irish Times