/ Soccer

St Patrick's Athletic v IF Elfsborg

Updated: Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 20:00

Gary Dempsey heads home the dramatic equaliser in Sweden as the Saints scored an impressive 2-2 draw in Sweden Manager John McDonnell and goalkeeper Barry Ryan face the press on Wednesday ahead of tonight's game Stefan Ishizaki celebrates after scoring the opener from the spot in the first leg Johan Karlsson is congratulated by team-mates after grabbing his side's second However, St Pat's took the game to the Swedes and were unlucky to trail 2-0 at the break And the visitors got their just reward when Mark Quigley pulled one back from the spot to pave the way for Dempsey's late equaliser
Gary Dempsey heads home the dramatic equaliser in Sweden as the Saints scored an impressive 2-2 draw in Sweden Manager John McDonnell and goalkeeper Barry Ryan face the press on Wednesday ahead of tonight's game Stefan Ishizaki celebrates after scoring the opener from the spot in the first leg Johan Karlsson is congratulated by team-mates after grabbing his side's second However, St Pat's took the game to the Swedes and were unlucky to trail 2-0 at the break And the visitors got their just reward when Mark Quigley pulled one back from the spot to pave the way for Dempsey's late equaliser

<notforsyndication>Listen to St Patrick's Athletic v IF Elfsborg live on RTÉ Radio 1 LW, DAB and here on RTÉ.ie from 7.30pm. </notforsyndication>

St Patrick's Athletic's strength in depth will be tested to the full tonight as the Inchicore club stand on the brink of a place in the first round proper of the UEFA Cup.

John McDonnell's side host IF Elfsborg, currently second in the Swedish First Division, at Richmond Park this evening, kick-off 7.45pm, knowing that their fate is in their own hands after securing an amazing 2-2 draw in the away leg two weeks ago.

However, McDonnell's resources will be tested to the limit as he must contend without his regular first choice centre back pairing of Jamie Harris and Joe O'Cearruill, both of whom miss out through suspension.

However, in the fit again Stephen Paisley and recent recruit Jason Gavin, McDonnell knows he has two of the country's top centre-halves and their partnership should ensure that the absence of captain Harris and O'Cearruill does not hinder their chances of progress. Indeed, Gavin has been particularly impressive since his arrival from Drogheda United.

Elsewhere, Dessie Byrne joins Paisley in the squad after making a full recovery from injury, although John Murphy (back), Derek O'Brien and Glen Fitzpatrick (both ankle) are causing some concern ahead of the tie.

The game is expected to be a 3,000 sell-out, but McDonnell stressed how difficult the task ahead of his team was despite the advantage of those two away goals, courtesy of Mark Quigley and Gary Dempsey, which means even a scoreless or 1-1 draw would be enough for his side to advance.

Speaking to The Irish Times, he admitted: 'I'd stress that it's going to be difficult, but if we get through this round the next game will probably be the most important game in the history of Pat's.'

'I think the profile of the club definitely gets a lift and it's great for everyone; me, the players, the people that work at the club and the fans, especially. It's great for everyone.

'The (UEFA) co-efficient for the league is very important as well and if we could get through it would be fantastic.'

With quality players like Swedish international midfielders Anders Svensson and Stefan Ishizaki, Pat's will have their work cut out against Magnus Haglund's side.

But although a low-scoring draw would be enough for his side to progress, McDonnell insisted he would not be playing for the draw, and he will be hoping to add to their 2-0 home defeat to Örebro at the weekend which sees them trail leaders Kalmar by five points.

He added: 'Absolutely not. There is too much at stake. We can't be hanging on. We've definitely got to try to score.'

A limited number of tickets went on sale from the club office this morning.

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