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Dundalk boss Kenny focusing on positives with injury headache

By Brian Hutton

Dundalk are preparing for one of the biggest nights for an Irish club in Europe with several key players doubtful, manager Stephen Kenny has admitted.

But the upbeat Lilywhites boss has insisted his side will take on Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg with the same confidence that has delivered three straight Irish Premier Division wins.

And he is taking belief from a strong start to their unlikely European campaign, beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 at Dublin's Tallaght Stadium as well as a 1-1 draw at AZ Alkmaar.

Hamstrung midfielder Stephen O'Donnell has been ruled out for the clash at Tallaght which will put the underdogs top of Europa League Group D if they continue their recent winning streak.

Doubts also hang over John Mountney, who is struggling with a back injury.

"We have four or five on the doubtful list at the moment, so we will have to see how they are," said Kenny.

Several players were absent from training yesterday and the physios are working overtime.

Despite the injury woes and dearth of recovery time after a punishing schedule of domestic and European fixtures, Kenny said his squad are determined to deliver a night to remember.

"It is unprecedented really for an Irish team to be in this position, and we know that Zenit St Petersburg have a great tradition," he said. "They have won the competition, they've got a great history in Europe, and we haven't.

"But we are looking forward to it - it is a great occasion for us.

"It is a great night for Irish football on such a stage. All of the players want to play. We respect all our opponents but we believe in what we are doing."

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