Shamrock Rovers manager confident ahead of Stjarnan clash
Stephen Bradley believes side can prevail in Reykjavik and hopes Luke Byrne will be fit
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley: “I believe if we bring our best team, in terms of the way we can play, we can go and win the tie.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Preview Europa League, first qualifying round first leg: Stjarnan v Shamrock Rovers (kick-off, 8.15)
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley will give Luke Byrne every chance to prove his fitness ahead of Thursday evening’s clash with Stjarnan in Reykjavik.
Left-back Byrne fell heavily on his shoulder in training on Tuesday and is in a race against time to be available.
“The doc said that the next 24 hours will be crucial to see if it settles down. If it doesn’t he will be out,” said Bradley.
Though Trevor Clarke, who played left-back in Byrne’s absence earlier this season, is an obvious replacement, Bradley is wary of playing the slightly-built winger in a defensive role given the physicality of the opposition.
“We just have to be careful with Trevor because the right-sided player they have is 6’ 4” and they hit him on diagonals a lot,” cautioned Bradley.
“So we have to be very careful who we play there. They are a physical side, especially from set pieces,” added Bradley of the opponents in a tie he feels his in-form side can win.
“We’ve been doing well, playing well, getting good results. I watched these on Saturday and I think if we bring that sort of form here we will cause them problems.
“They’re very dangerous from set plays with good deliveries from corners and free kicks. They also have really long throw-ins from both sides.
“They have two quick boys up front. They are good attacking wise, but defensively I think we can get at them.”
With just one point from their last four league games, Stjarnan currently lie third in the Icelandic Úrvalsdeild and Bradley feels the sides are evenly balanced.
“I believe if we bring our best team, in terms of the way we can play, we can go and win the tie.
“We have to obviously concentrate from the first minute. We have to respect them, but try to go and score a goal. I believe if we attack the way we can we can score against them.”
With Byrne the only injury concern, and David McAllister and Graham Burke free of domestic suspensions, Bradley otherwise has a full squad to choose from.
Shamrock Rovers (probable): Chencinski; Madden, Webster, Lopes, Byrne/Clarke; McAllister; Miele, Finn, Clarke/Meenan; Burke; Shaw.