Kilkenny manager Brian Cody is set to name his team tonight for the eagerly-awaited All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Cork at Croke Park on Sunday.
The Cats' drive for five successive All-Ireland titles has suffered a setback with the news that luckless defender John Tennyson has been ruled out with a second cruciate knee ligament injury in three years, which will sideline him for the rest of the Championship.
Meanwhile, Michael Rice will not start Sunday's game. The Carrickshock clubman only had a plaster cast last Tuesday after suffering a broken hand three weeks ago when playing for his club.
James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick is favoured to replace Rice and partner Michael Fennelly at midfield. However, Derek Lyng is also in contention for a centre-field berth.
The sides last met in March in the National League, when Cork prevailed by 0-18 to 1-13 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. But the Cats had the upper hand in the counties' last Championship clash - an All-Ireland semi-final tussle in 2008 which saw Cody's charges claim a 1-23 to 0-17 win at Croke Park.
The Kilkenny players have been keeping a reasonably low media profile ahead of this weekend's encounter, with full concentration on Sunday's semi-final date and the opportunity to qualify for an eighth All-Ireland final in nine years.
Talismanic Cats forward Henry Shefflin will be involved as a keynote speaker in Coaching Ireland's 10th annual coaching forum on Saturday, September 11 at the new Convention Centre at Spencer Dock in Dublin.
Shefflin, who is Kilkenny's top scorer this year with 1-19, has praised his long-term manager Cody for being one of the top coaches in the game today.
"I have been very lucky myself as a player to be involved under Brian Cody," he said.
"He is absolutely excellent. Brian would be the first to tell you that he is there in the job 11 years and he has learned, and is still learning.
"I think that's what coaching is about, it's about learning as you go on. It's like being a player, you try and develop and I'm sure coaches try and develop as well.
"They get great satisfaction out of seeing a team develop, so it has been great to learn from him."
Kilkenny have been without a competitive game since their Leinster final win over Galway on July 4 - the longest break of all four semi-finalists. Cork have played three games since then, while Waterford and Tipperary have had two each.
The Cats have been putting in the groundwork on the training pitch, but Shefflin says there is nothing majorly scientific about Kilkenny's training methods.
"Everything is very well organised, there is a lot of myth around them (the training sessions) too - it's not rocket science.
"It's just good honest effort. Everything is run very well and they (the management) know what it's about.
"That's their job and they have to be very organised, and they are. It makes the players enjoy it more when you know things are running smoothly and training goes a bit quicker (as a result).
"Other teams are playing (practice) matches and stuff like that and training, so you have to train as hard as you can.
"Training can't compete against matches at the end of the day, but if you get a high intensity it does help get you ready for the matchday situation.
"Training definitely does evolve, but it is no different I suppose. Brian will always say that you have a good spirit at training and you need to work hard.
"Those are two key elements to it. You need to enjoy it as well, and once you are doing that and looking forward to big matches it makes it easier," added the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman.