Tardelli to take in Pat’s clash with Linfield

MARCO TARDELLI will get his first taste of the domestic game when the assistant to incoming Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni visits Richmond Park tonight to watch the Setanta Cup clash between St Patrick’s Athletic and Linfield.

Tardelli, currently taking English lessons in Dublin, will be among a big crowd at the Inchicore ground, with Linfield expected to bring in the region of 900 supporters down from Belfast for the game.

With the two clubs topping their respective leagues, temporary all-Ireland bragging rights are at issue tonight, although it’s the Dublin side who need the Setanta Cup points rather more urgently than their northern rivals.

Linfield currently head Group 2 with a maximum six points from two games while Pats have managed just the one point in their two outings, having drawn 3-3 with Glentoran and been beaten 2-0 by Derry City.

However, manager John McDonnell insists there is a long way to go in the competition yet.

“There are still 12 points to play for and each team is capable of beating the other,” he says. “I think we can still give it a good shot although if Linfield turn us over tonight they will be in a very strong position.”

Pats have former Welsh international David Partridge suspended for tonight’s game and both Jamie Harris and Joseph N’do are injured. Either Stephen Brennan, Stephen Paisley or Damian Lynch will partner Joe O’ Cearuill at centre-half.

Linfield have Kris Lindsay suspended and will also be without the injured Jim Ervin, Tim Mouncey and Tim McCann, meaning that manager David Jeffrey won’t be able to rotate his squad has he has done previously.

“We’re in a good position after wins against Derry and Glentoran,” he says, “and the goal now is to build on those results.”

In tonight’s other Group 2 game, Glentoran host second-placed Derry City at the Oval. (kick off 7.45pm)

An Irish Under 18 side will take on Malta tonight at Turner’s Cross (7.30pm). The team is yet to be announced but the squad will comprise solely of domestic-based players.

Irish U18 squad: M McGinley (Fanad); B Collopy (Wembley Rovers); B Kane (Shels); K Burns (Tramore); N Walsh (Castlebar); P O’Halloran (Cobh); D Murray (WFTA); S O’Connor (St. Josephs); D Langan (Home Farm); E Stevens (Cherry

Orchard); S Sharkey (Derry); K Ward (Cherry Orchard); D O’Neill (Arklow); R Waters (Cork City); I Byrne (Bohs); J O’Neill (Sporting Fingal); D Shovlin (Drunkeen); K Dawson (St. Kevins); E Hanrahan (Fairview); J Kelly (St. Josephs); G Falconer (Tramore); P Madden (WFTA); D McDaid (Derry).

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