Mahon delays Mulcahy decision as hectic schedule begins to tell

 

SOCCER:ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC manager Pete Mahon will wait until close to kick-off time tomorrow before making a final call on the fitness of Dave Mulcahy for the Europa League game against Iceland’s IBV but the 33-year-old is rated as “very, very doubtful,” by the Dubliner, who will look to either Shane McFaul or Paul Crowley to fill the gap if the midfielder doesn’t make it.

Mahon believes Mulcahy is just one of many players feeling the effects of a hectic first half to the league campaign here. The schedule, he believes, has taken little account of the fact almost all of the clubs have reverted to being part-time operations, with many players forced to hold down day jobs again.

“We’ve been flogging the same players now for quite a while and it does take its toll,” he says. “Some of our lads are working as well and when you’re training three or four times a week or playing twice a week and just training once, what happens is that some pick up niggling injuries and they’re playing with them.

“Dave Mulcahy is a prime example,” he says. “He’s been playing below his best physically. I was speaking to him this morning and he said he doesn’t think he will be able for two games this week. We’re going to have to decide which is the most important – Thursday or Sunday (against Dundalk).

“I think we have to go for Thursday really. It’s European competition and we want to try to stay in it as long as we can, regardless of what the logistics are with a future trip (as things stand the winners between St Patrick’s and IBV appear to facing into a trip to Kazakhstan in the next round). We have to give ourselves every chance of winning first of all, then we can contemplate on how we’re going to deal with it. I want to stay in this competition as long as I can.”

Mahon will stick with the 4-3-3 formation he employed in Iceland to counter the visitors’ tactical approach but believes ultimately the club’s fate will be determined by the ability of his attacking players to take their chances.

“They have great movement, with maybe six players looking very comfortable in a lot of different areas and if we are caught at the back, they will punish us and it’s curtains then. The most important thing for me is that we don’t concede early in the match. We’ll let the game settle down, settle into it and if it is as it is around half-time or the second half, then we’ll have to go for it.

“We have to be very, very careful,” he continued. “These are a good team and if we start going gung-ho, they will catch us on the counter-attack. They’ve very good attacking players and they showed me enough over there for me to say they can cause us problems.

“But we created chances over there as well, maybe four or five of them, which isn’t bad in Europe and certainly better than we managed up in Tallaght on Sunday. I think they’re a little suspect at the back and I’m depending on Daryl (Kavanagh) and the other lads to be a little more clinical this time.”

Kavanagh’s strike partner Danny North is adamant the Irish side can come through the tie despite losing by a solitary goal to what he reckons was a good team last week.

“The patience they showed when they had the ball was impressive, they’re not afraid to move the ball across the back and they’re in no hurry to force things, whereas teams here tend to be.

“They were a good footballing side but there’s no reason why we should be scared on Thursday. We had the chances to win or at least get a draw over there, we were bitterly disappointed not to get something and we all firmly believe that we have a great chance of beating them at home.”