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Mac boost for Dundalk's away test

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Patrick McEleney

Patrick McEleney

SPORTSFILE

Patrick McEleney

Dundalk received a boost as they flew to Moldova for tomorrow's Europa League test with Patrick McEleney joining his team-mates for the trip east.

And their opponents, Sheriff Tiraspol, have admitted that the Irish club's experience in Europe will be a major advantage for the one-off tie.

Apart from the UEFA prize money of €260,000, the reward for a win tomorrow is a home tie with either Dinamo Tbilisi or Klaksvik (Faroe Islands) next week in the playoff round, the last phase before the group stages.

Dundalk landed in Moldova yesterday and then had to make the journey by road from the capital Chisinau to Tiraspol, which is in the Russian-speaking, self-declared Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.

Derry native McEleney was able to join the squad, 24 hours after the birth of his son.

Sheriff have carried out major surgery on their squad ahead of the Euro test, imports like former Holland U-21 cap Dabney dos Santos, who played against the Lilywihites for AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League group stages in 2016.

He has already been dismissive of Dundalk's chances but the club's Croatian-born coach, Zorak Zekic, is concerned.

"Dundalk are a serious team who have been together for a long time," he says.

"In Europe, they could punish the kind of mistakes we made in our last league game, we need to be focused and cut out the mistakes."