Kenny Shiels insists his injury-stricken Derry City squad will go into tonight’s Europa League first round, first leg tie in Denmark in a positive frame of mind despite facing what many believe is a mission impossible.
FC Midtiylland have played over 20 games in Europe over the past three seasons and were the second highest ranked of the 100 teams in the first round Europa League draw.
They boast the services of former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart while their top scorer, with 18 league goals last season, is Nigerian international striker, Paul Onuachu.
Shiels claimed the Foylesiders must be considered ‘massive underdogs’ against the 2015 Danish Super Liga champions.
The Derry boss may have to plan without the services of right-back Conor McDermott (groin) and midfield playmaker Barry McNamee (ankle) while left-back Dean Jarvis is also struggling with an abductor muscle problem.
“Obviously it’s going to be a very tough game for us,” admitted Shiels. “We will be hampered by a number of injuries and that, added to the quality of our Danish opponent, certainly doesn’t make it any easier.”
“Barry rolled an ankle in training this week. It’s badly swollen. Unless he makes a remarkable recovery over the next 24 hours, he will not be involved.
“Conor McDermott is definitely out with a groin injury sustained against Cork last weekend and he will also struggle to be available for the second leg.
However, Dean Jarvis has an abductor muscle issue and is considered doubtful, but he will have his fitness tested in Denmark.
“The full squad has travelled and while it will be difficult for us, we’ve no fear. We will do all in our power to secure a favourable result and try and keep the game live for the second leg.”
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