“There’s no point in going over there if you don’t think you can get through”- Kenny

By Stephen Leonard

ST PATRICK’S Athletic manager Harry Kenny insists his side have the potential to dig their Europa League hopes out of the fire as they prepare to face IFK Norrkoping in Sweden tomorrow.

The Inchicore side face an uphill task in overturning a 2-0 deficit in tomorrow night's first round second leg qualifier in Östgötaporten.

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“We know what we have to do” Kenny told The Echo.

“We can’t commit ourselves forward too early, because if they score, all of a sudden we’re really out of it, so we still have to be a little bit cautious and see if we can nick a goal. That would put the frighteners on them.

“But there’s no point in going over there if you don’t think you can get through” he stressed.

The St Pat’s boss was positive about his side’s performance in the first leg last week despite seeing them succumb to a second half strike from Simon Thern and an own goal from defender Lee Desmond.

“I thought the players acquitted themselves well and it was just a couple of defensive mistakes that cost us” Kenny pointed out.

“It was a bad pass out from the back for the first one, and they broke at pace, and then the OG near end. Had we not had them, we could have been going over there at 0-0.

“We should have definitely had a penalty for that push on Gary [Shaw] in the first half, so if we get that bit of luck that they had, we could do it.

“They [IFK] are a very good side with tons of internationals throughout the team, Swedish, Finnish, so it was always going to be a tough draw” he added.

St Pat’s task will be made arguably more difficult given the fact that a crucial Airtricity League derby awaits them upon their return from Sweden should they fail in their attempt to progress to the second round qualifiers.

Indeed the Saints will have to travel to Dalymount Park to face off against a Bohemians side who sit just five points ahead of them in third place.

Kenny, himself feels the timing of such an important fixture is not a favourable one for his team saying “It is a distraction in the sense that if we really go for it [against IFK] and don’t get through it will be an advantage for Bohs because of the quick turnaround.

“We’ll be back from the game late on Friday and then you just have the Saturday before the game. It’s a lot to ask of the players.

“And it’s such an important match in terms of European places. If we beat Bohs, then we’re right up on them” he said.

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