St Patricks Athletic play their 4th European tie of the summer tonight safe in the knowing that a second home successive European win will take them into to a third qualifying encounter against Karpaty Lviv of Ukraine.
However overturned a first leg defeat against IBV in the first round Pete Mahon’s men must do the same again against Shakhter Karagandy although they have the luxury of an away goal behind them.
Despite losing a 2-1 thanks to an 86th minute goal cancelling out David McMillan’s effort last week Pats flew home from Kazakhstan positive mood and with top scorer Danny North returning to the line up following injury expectations will be high in Inchicore.
The return of June Player of the month North means that Mahon has a full squad to choose from with no other injury or suspension worries however the former UCD manager is expecting to make some changes for 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.”
Both sides should be fresh for the encounter having enjoyed free weekends in their domestic leagues with Karagandy’s clash away to Irtysh being move to accommodate the journey to Dublin. Both sides are riding high in their respective league with Karagandy sitting 4th in the table 8 points of the top with a game in hand and having won their last 4 games all in competitions.
St Pats meanwhile have been in super form domestically this season and currently sit in fourth spot just 4 points of the top having won 12 of their opening 22 games losing just four.
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.