- Wednesday July 12th, 2023 @ 10:40
Preview: Saints V Dudelange
The Saints begin their European adventure on Wednesday evening with a visit to the Stade Jos Nosbaum of F91 Dudelange in Luxembourg.
This is the first leg of a two-legged tie in the Europa Conference League qualifiers, with the Luxembourg outfit due to visit Richmond Park on Thursday, July 20th.
The game kicks off on Wednesday at 6.30pm Irish time, with a strong away support expected to travel.
For those St Pat's fans who aren't making the trip to Luxembourg, the club have secured the rights to stream the game live on the Official St Pat's App for free. The game will also be available on LOITV for a fee of €10.
The Saints head into this tie off the back of a strong run of form in the league, which has seen them rise to second in the table and just four points off top spot with 43 points after 25 games.
F91 Dudelange are a team based in the south of Luxembourg. They are 16-time Luxembourgish league champions. The club was founded in 1991 after three smaller clubs in the Dudelange region merged.
Dudelange are currently in pre-season, with their domestic league not beginning until next month. They finished third in the league in 2022-23 to qualify for Europe.
The club has previously qualified for the Europa League group stage in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Saints manager Jon Daly has been a key figure in the impressive run of form this season, having led the team up to second place.
Considering the run of 8 wins, two draws and just two defeats from Daly's first 12 league games, he believes in his side's ability to get a result but is also clear in the fact that the opposition cannot be underestimated:
"They've obviously had good success in Europe over the last few years so it's not someone we can take lightly.
We need to focus and make sure we defend properly. We know the threat that these teams have in Europe, and F91 are very much like that.
They've got some good attacking players that we need to take care of, and we need to be mindful that we don't give them good opportunities.
There's a different pressure than in the league but I think it's important to go out there and enjoy the experience. You work hard all year to get into these situations so it's important that, first and foremost, you're focused on the job at hand but I think it's really important that there's an element of enjoyment.
They're here because they've earned the right to be here."
The Saints midfield has been a crucial reason to their success in recent times and Jamie Lennon has been right at the heart of that this season. With 23 league appearances this season, he has almost been an ever-present in the side.
Lennon played in all four of St Pat's European games last summer and said that he was excited at the prospect of another continental journey:
"Now that Europe has come around, we're looking forward to experiencing something new, in a different country with different styles of play and just trying to enjoy ourselves and hopefully getting a good result.
You don't get any bad teams at this level - you're playing the top teams across Europe. You can't overestimate or underestimate any team; you've got to go in and trust your own players.
There's experience all over the pitch so we've just got to make sure that we communicate with each other properly tomorrow and that we know what we're doing and what our jobs are, and I'm sure we'll be alright."
SAINTS EUROPEAN TRIVIA
This tie brings the Saints into a 20th European campaign, with the first being in 1961/62.
Chris Forrester has 15 European apps for the club - the most in the current squad - with one goal to his name (v Mura last July).
Irish clubs have a favourable record against opposition from Luxembourg in Europe, with Irish sides coming out on top in all but one of the eight meetings between teams of the two countries.
St Pat's only two-legged affair versus a Luxembourg-based team in Europe was back in the 2016 Europa League first qualifying round where they progressed against Jeunesse Esch on away goals with the tie ending 2-2 after a 1-0 win at Richmond Park.
Captain Joe Redmond (hamstring), Tom Grivosti (knee ACL) and Axel Sjoberg (hamstring) will all miss the match. New signing Kian Leavy is a couple of weeks away from fitness.
Updates: You can catch updates across all our social media channels on Wednesday evening.