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Kris can impress folks back home

Twardek is upbeat as Bohs prepare to face champions

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Kris Twardek of Bohemians in action against Deshane Dalling of Cork City

Kris Twardek of Bohemians in action against Deshane Dalling of Cork City

SPORTSFILE

Kris Twardek of Bohemians in action against Deshane Dalling of Cork City

He can't claim all the credit, but Canadian international Kris Twardek has at least some responsibility for the fact that quite a few subscriptions for the League of Ireland's streaming service have been sold in his native Canada.

It's not just family and friends but also (hopefully) staff from the Canadian U-23 international team who will log on and tune in today when Bohemians take on Dundalk, folks back home eager to follow the progress of their export to the Irish game.

"It's a good opportunity for me to have a bit more exposure and allow the Canadian federation to follow me a bit closer but in general, exposing the league to people abroad. It's a lot easier for people to follow the league now, we have a lot of good players in the league, and at Bohemians, and it's good for them to have a stage to play on," he says.

He has had to (reluctantly) park his international ambitions but the focus is very much on domestic and European duties with Bohs as Dalymount Park welcomes the team back for the first time since March 6.

"I know we can't have our fans in the ground but it will be good to be back playing at home again, it's been too long," says Twardek, hoping to help Bohs outwit Dundalk with a win which would nudge the Gypsies into the top two, ahead of the champions.

"These are the games you want to play in, where there's something to play for, the possibility to go past a team, but there is always that bit of hunger when you're playing the side who have been champions for a few years, so it is a test, a chance to play against one of the best sides in the league.

"It's such a short season now you can't look too far ahead, things could change with the snap of a finger, and our focus over the break was to reflect on ourselves, look at what we're doing and see what we can achieve.

"We know if we play well and stick to our tactics, if players rise to their individual challenges, we can compete with anyone in the league. So tonight is one of those opportunities for us, we know how good Dundalk are, the squad they have. It's exciting to be back in Dalymount and we're there with a smile on our faces."

He spent most of lockdown in his native Canada, opting to return home to be with his family in March when it became clear that football here would be off the agenda for a considerable period. Once the door was opened to a return to training here he was able to pack a bag, fly back to Dublin and rejoin his teammates for training after a mandatory quarantine period.

"It's great to have the league back, and having the games spaced out the way they are and those matches being streamed is good, players can use the stream to watch other teams in action to prepare for your next game," he says. "My family back home are able to follow the matches to see how I am getting on."

The Covid-19 lockdown did bring a halt to his international career, as Twardek was due to travel to Mexico in March to play for Canada's U-23 side in qualifiers for the Olympic games. The Olympics have of course been delayed for 12 months but he's in the dark over when the qualifying matches can be played.

"I was set to fly out two days after they pulled the plug so that was disappointing, but you can't get upset about it, it was the right decision health-wise," he says. "I have been in touch with the coaches in the Canada squad but there's no news yet on dates or a plan for the games to be played."

Bohs had a good start to the restart, a 1-0 win away to Cork City where midfielder Dawson Devoy put on a show which belied his youth (he's only 18) in the middle of the park.

"With so few games, you need to pick up results fast and we were happy to get off to a good start with the win in Cork, there are things we can improve on and we'll reflect on those, but the main thing is to pick up wins," says Twardek.

"Dawson is just one of those players who is so gifted and talented, he almost plays at his own pace if he wants to, he's so good technically. It was good to see him get a chance to play in Cork as he'd only played briefly before this season, but he's a great talent, it was good for a young player to get exposed to a game like that in Cork, not the best game of football but an important win for us.

"It's a young group, but we have experience too. We want to win things, there is loads of ability and potential, there are opportunities there for us to make an impact and surprise people."

Both sides could make changes for this game, David McMillan and Danny Mandroiu are options for Vinny Perth and Keith Long respectively.