DFC | Dundalk FC to assess Vemmelund’s fitness ahead of make-or-break clash

Danish centre-back limped off in 1–1 draw at Oriel Park

Gavin McLaughlin in Trondheim

Dundalk will assess the fitness of defender Niclas Vemmelund ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League clash with Rosenborg in Norway.

The Dane limped off with a hamstring strain in the first leg at Oriel Park last week but, speaking ahead of the team’s departure from Dublin Airport — which was delayed by two-and-a-half hours, Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny said that the former Derry City player still had a chance of featuring at the Lerkendal Stadium.

“Niclas did some light running on Sunday so we’ll have to see where he is on Tuesday,” said Kenny. “We have good options anyway in Sean Hoare and Paddy Barrett so we’ll only play him if he’s 100%.”

Barrett picked up a thigh knock after coming on to replace Vemmelund in the 1–1 draw in Dundalk but he played a full part in a training session at FAI headquarters in Abbottstown on Sunday.

Club captain Stephen O’Donnell is also pushing for a start after recovering from the hamstring injury he picked up in the league win over Bray Wanderers two and a half weeks ago.

“Stephen came off in the Bray game and missed two games,” said Kenny. “He trained the Saturday before the European game so he just really had two sessions.

“He’ll train at the stadium and he’ll feel all the better for that having gotten more training under his belt.

“It’s a contrast to the way we were earlier in the season with everyone fit. And with Dylan Connolly coming in the squad is a bit bigger so there’s a lot of competition.”

Explaining the decision to train at Abbottstown, Kenny said: “The dimensions of the training pitch are quite similar to the dimensions in Trondheim.

“Our training pitch isn’t bad but it’s smaller. We had full 11v11 sessions, three 15 minutes and then 10 minutes and a bit more stuff then.

“You’re trying to replicate how Rosenborg will play and any weaknesses that might be shown up and that helped us last week. That’s why we do it.

“It’s easier on the bigger pitch and the quality of the surface as well is very good. It was good to have.”

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