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Derry have it worse than Cup rivals, insists Kenny Shiels

By Daniel McDonnell

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels believes that any Dundalk complaints about fatigue pale in comparison to his own team's issues.

He was speaking after the draw for the semi-finals of the FAI Cup landed his Candystripes a trip to Oriel Park.

The other side of the draw sees St Patrick's Athletic and Cork City meet in the second semi-final on Sunday, October 2.

Shiels' initial reaction was to quip that he expected Dundalk and Cork to be kept apart.

He went on to outline the difficulties faced by his team in comparison to Dundalk.

Stephen Kenny had floated the idea of an extension to the season as they try to fit in their league, cup and Europa League commitments. They take on AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands tomorrow.

Shiels - whose son Dean, a former Northern Ireland ace, has signed for Dundalk to add depth to their squad - has little sympathy as he referenced his side's back-to-back trips to Wexford.

"They will be crying about being tired after travelling. But would you rather sit on a plane for an hour and a half to go to Amsterdam or sit on a bus (to Wexford) for six hours?" asked Shiels.

"They have two squads basically. We have played more games in the league. This is our second semi-final after a run in the League Cup as well which they haven't had.

"I don't think their tiredness will kick in until they start going to places like St Petersburg two to three days before the Cup final."

Kenny's priority yesterday was a detailed video session with his players on the strengths of AZ Alkmaar.

With Dundalk busy in the league, including Monday night's win over Finn Harps, Kenny will have to give verbal instructions on the top-level opponents with no scope to put plans in place on the training ground.

"We'd like to have three full days on the training ground working against their system," said Kenny.

"That won't be the case now. We'll just try and get it right on the night."

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