DECLAN Devine insits that next Thursday’s Europa League clash against Trabzonspor in Turkey will not have any effect on his players as they prepare for tonight’s trip to Tallaght Stadium and a high profile clash against Shamrock Rovers.
Indeed, the Brandywell boss will contine to assess the players who will fly to Trabzon on Tuesday, agreeing that a number will be disappointed.
“I expect to travel to Turkey with a panel of 18 players and, at the moment, we have 23 in the first team squad, so there will be a few disappointed.
“We will be going over there in an effort to secure a favourable result, players will not be travelling over for a break,” he insisted.
He refused, however, to discuss the Europa League until after the final whistle in Tallaght Stadium this evening, the result, Devine believes, could prove crucial this season.
“We face a very difficult game on Friday night, but it’s always one of those games you look forward to every season,” he maintained.
“I believe players travel to Tallaght knowing they will be tested. There’s a great tradition between the two sides in the League of Ireland and both sets of supporters look forward to these fixtures.
“We will be playing in a modern stadium, on a quality surface and in front of a big attendance, so it’s always a match to look forward to and it’s a chance for our players to express themselves on the big pitch.”
But Devine does have his injury worries with Thomas Crawley, Dermot McCaffrey and Dean Jarvis already ruled out. Ruaidhri Higgins, Sean Houston, Kevin Deery and Patrick McEleney all face pre-match fitness tests with Barry Molloy also struggling having failed to train this week.
Devine is hopeful, however, that Molloy does make the squad.
“Barry will want to play but we can’t afford to take chances with injuries. But I’m confident that any players brought in will not let us down as a window of opportunity will open for them.
“We’ve been putting square plugs into round holes over recent games and while that may have to continue, I’m confident we will give a good account of ourselves.”
David McDaid’s international clearance has arrived and Eoghan Osborne has also been added to the travelling party.
“But Friday’s match may have come too soon for both Patrick McEleney and Kevin Deery who limped off last week, but with players like Michael Duffy, Paddy Kavanagh, Michael Rafter and Barry McNamee keen to keep their places, we’re not short of options,” claimed Devine.