MAHON HOPING FOR REPEAT OF LAST ROUND
- Wed, Jul 20, 2011 @ 19:55
St Patrick's Athletic go into tomorrow's (Thursday) game with Shakhter Karagandy in Richmond Park knowing that a one nil victory will see them through to the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round.
A David McMillan strike in Kazakhstan last Thursday eased the disappointment of the 2-1 defeat with the hope that the away goal may prove crucial in the overall tie.
The winners of this Second Qualifying Round tie will face a trip to the Ukraine to play FC Karpaty Lviv.
Pete Mahon has a full squad to choose from with no injury worries and no suspensions.
Danny North returns from injury and will lead the line as the Saints look for the goal required to get through the tie.
"We're very lucky in that everybody is fully fit, the whole squad trained on Monday and Tuesday.
They were all in good form, they're raring to go and we can't wait for this match.
"I've seen Karagandy in the flesh over there and we know from what we saw that they're a very difficult opponent.
"How tomorrow goes will depend on our mind set as much as anything else and it has to be the same as it was in the previous tie.
"Just as it was in the ÍBV game we know what we have to do - we have to win the game and not concede a goal.
"I think it's fair to say that this European adventure hasn't been kind to us in terms of opposition. Both sides we've been drawn against have been very good and we also know what's waiting for us should we progress.
"Our main focus however has to be on winning tomorrow night - otherwise everything else will be academic."
"We're going to change personnel from last week but probably not the formation. We have the players to play the way we want to play and if you have a look at team selection in the competition it will be different in the two away games and the two home games.
"What we have to concentrate on doing is keeping the ball better and if we do that we'll have a chance.
"Danny North missed out last week but he trained on Monday and Tuesday and we saw nothing wrong. The physios tell me he is fit and he's just picked up the Soccer Writers' player of the month award.
"He's in good form and is very, very confident, but so is the whole team. The result over there was a good one but ultimately we'll only know how good by the time the tie finishes tomorrow.
"When you take into consideration what we went through getting to Kazakhstan, the tough game, the hostile atmosphere and that, we have to be happy with the result.
"What we got was better than a 2-0 or even a 1-0 loss and if we can get a similar result as the ÍBV game at home we'll be going to the Ukraine and that will be a piece of cake in comparison to last week."