St Patrick’s up against it in Warsaw
Captain Ger O’Brien calls for positive mind set against superior Legia
Keith Fahey was identified by Legia Warsaw manager Henning Berg as a key man in the St Patrick’s Athletic ranks ahead of tonight’s Champions League qualifier in Warsaw. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Putting any sense of inferiority to the back of their minds while playing to their optimum in Poland tonight is what captain Ger O’Brien hopes will catch Legia cold.
With a turnover of €50 million, a squad containing 17 internationals and an expected raucous crowd of around 15,000 roaring them on, Legia are undoubtedly a level or two above St Patrick’s.
“It’s going to be really tough as they are a good side, but you can’t come here with an inferiority complex,” said the right back.“We’re here with a game plan and hoping to get a positive result to take them back to Dublin.”
Following on from what was the best week ever for League of Ireland clubs in Europe, with Dundalk, Sligo Rovers and Derry all cruising through to the second round in the Europa League, O’Brien acknowledges St Patrick’s drew the short straw.
But the 30-year-old says preparation has been good: “We got a good journey, it was direct, which helps with preparation.
Ambition“They got to the Europa League group stages last year. But their ambition is obviously to get to the Champions League group stage, so the pressure is all on them.
“We saw Drogheda going to Dynamo Kiev a few years ago and they were the width of a post away from knocking them out.”
With left back Ian Bermingham and midfielder Killian Brennan expected to be fit following ankle and knee injuries, Seán Hoare is St Patrick’s only absentee.
Despite their season not having started yet, Legia manager Henning Berg says their preparation too has been satisfactory.
“I think it is good for them to be in the middle of their season,” said Berg, who mentioned Brennan, Keith Fahey, and Christy Fagan as St Patrick’s dangermen.
“Of course we are well prepared,” said the former Manchester United and Blackburn defender. “I don’t think they have a big advantage. It should be even.” LEGIA WARSAW (probable): Kuciak; Broz, Rzezniczak, Astiz, Brzyski; Judlowiec, Pinto; Zyro, Radovic, Kucharcyk; Sa. ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC (probable): Clarke; O’Brien, Oman, Browne, Bermingham; Fahey, Bolger; Byrne, Brennan, Forrester; Fagan.