Dundalk are just hours away from their latest jaunt at the Europa League Group Stages this evening when they welcome Molde to Tallaght Stadium (kick-off is at 5.55pm).
The Lilywhites head into the Thursday evening showdown following their Europa League playoff tie against Faroese side KI Klaksvik.
Dundalk – who welcome back Chris Shields to the starting XI after suspension – will be eyeing a similar result that begun their 2016 Europa League campaign.
“I think the group is very similar to the one we had in 2016,” Shields said during yesterday’s press conference.
“That year we drew Zenit who were the highest-ranked team in the competition and this year we have Arsenal who are the same.
“You look at Rapid Vienna and Molde, they’re similar to the Maccabi Tel-Aviv and AZ Alkmaar. We just have to take each game as it comes.
“These teams will probably have more European experience than us, but you can’t go into these matches expecting to get nothing, or you’ll get nothing.
“You have to go in hoping to win points and that’s what we’ll be hoping to do.”
And on Molde, Shields added: “We did our video session on them and we honed in on their strengths. Obviously, their midfield goals are a strength.
“They pretty much score from everywhere in the squad, I believe their full-backs even have goals.
“Me, personally, I’ll be coming one-on-one against their creative midfielder, and it will be my job to stop them scoring goals.
“As of late, we’ve seen it in ourselves – Sean Murray especially, he likes this competition, he’s started to add more goals to his games and even Greg Sloggett and Patrick McEleney, it’s very easy for them to pop up with a goal as well.”
In terms of team news, Nathan Oduwa and Daniel Kelly are doubts, while Dane Massey is ruled out.
Molde will be hoping to spoil Dundalk’s latest Europa League Group Stage party this evening when they take on the Lilywhites at Tallaght Stadium.
“We have been looking at them now for quite some time after the draw, so we think we have a good view on what Dundalk is,” Molde boss Erling Moe said.
“I think they have done well in Europe now and they are a team that seems to have adopted a bit from the new coach in playing out from the back. I think they are quite strong going forward in the pitch.
“The left (Michael Duffy) and right-winger (Stefan Colovic) and the top man (Patrick Hoban) there are really good players, so we expect a tough game tomorrow.
“I think they got quite a few good players, but I think this is a game where it’s all about being the best team.
“Of course, we know Josh Gatt really well, but he’s not in the squad. There’s several players we have had a good look at – the number nine, the right and left winger and you’ve got the captain (Chris Shields), who is a warrior, so I think they are looking strong.”
In terms of team news for Molde, Leke James, Fredrik Sjolstad, Henry Wingo and Kristoffer Haraldseid are all out injured.
Referee: Petri Viljanen.
This will be Dundalk’s third meeting with Norwegian opposition in Europe after facing Rosenborg in the 2017 season in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
Molde are one of just two Norwegian club sides who have reached the group stages of the Champions League.
This will be Dundalk’s 78th European tie, winning 16, drawing 19 and losing 33 of their previous European encounters.
Dundalk 9/2; Draw 16/5; Molde FK 8/15.
Dundalk 0 - 2 Molde FK
Injured: Dane Massey.
Doubtful: Daniel Kelly, Nathan Oduwa.
Injured: Leke James, Fredrik Sjolstad, Henry Wingo, Kristoffer Haraldseid.
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