Dundalk have injury concerns heading into Thursday's Europa League game against Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg in Dublin. The Lilywhites have made a strong start to the campaign with an opening 1-1 draw at AZ Alkmar followed by a historic 1-0 win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv. But Stephen O'Donnell (hamstring) is almost certain to miss Thursday's game with John Mountney (back) also a doubt. "We will have to see how they are," said Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny. A number of other players are understood to have been nursing knocks following Monday's 3-0 away win over Longford Town which left Dundalk on the brink of a third successive League of Ireland title.
Following Monday's game, Kenny said his players were "on their knees" amid their current punishing schedule both domestically and in Europe. But victory over the 2007-08 Uefa Cup winners would move the Irish club to the top of Group D and continue a sensational season of achievements in Europe. The triumph over Maccabi Tel-Aviv was the first win by an Irish club in a European group-stage game. "It is unprecedented really for an Irish team to be in this position at this stage of the season, and we know that Zenit St Petersburg have a great tradition," added the Dundalk manager. "They have won the competition, they've got a great history in European competition, and we haven't got a history at this level. "But we are certainly looking forward to it. It is a great occasion for us."
Zenit, who lead the group after opening wins over Maccabi and Alkmaar, have a host of Russia internationals in their squad including former Chelsea full-back Yuri Zhirkov, plus Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Kerzhakov. Brazilian midfielder Giuliano is also an influential performer for the Russian club while the squad includes former Manchester City player Javi Garcia and Belgian duo Axel Witsel and Nicolas Lombaerts.