Dundalk's players "cant be any more prepared" ahead of Champions League bow

Stuart Byrne was speaking to Off the Ball ahead of FH Hafnarfjordur's visit to Oriel Park

BY Daniel Kelly 14:28 Wednesday 13 July 2016, 14:28 13 Jul 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Champions League football returns to Irish shores on Wednesday night as Dundalk meet Icelandic champions FH Hafnarfjordur in Oriel Park.

It is the second year in a row that Dundalk have been Ireland's representatives in the competition. The County Louth side are looking to become the first Irish side to win a tie in the Champions League since Shamrock Rovers defeated Flora Tallinn 1-0 on aggregate since 2011.

Speaking from his experience of playing Icelandic opposition in Europe, former midfielder Stuart Byrne is expecting "physically imposing players" to turn out from their champions.

"Stephen Kenny is saying the right things about this", Byrne told Off the Ball. "When the draw was first made, everything was relative to BATE Borisov. They got a really poor draw last year and really were at an uphill task."

"Everything is relative to that (draw). As soon as an Icelandic team comes out, you think; 'Hang on a second. We have a chance'. They do have a chance, however they need to be really cautious."

"You only need to look at the state of Icelandic football in general, look at the Euros. This country has invested in football in the past ten years and it's starting to pay dividends."

FH Hafnarfjordur have won seven of the last 12 national titles and Byrne expects them to be "very good" in Oriel Park.

Dundalk defeated Longford Town 4-3 in their last league game and Byrne hopes that freak result will give the Icelandic side a warped perspective of what to expect from Kenny's side. "Hopefully the scouts from (Hafnarfjordur) were over watching that, and it may lead them into a false sense of security."

Byrne feels that Dundalk's performances in Oriel Park will come down to "the experiences that this squad has had in the last couple of years, especially in European football... As a squad they cant be any more prepared."

Kick-off in Oriel Park is at 7.45pm, with the second leg taking place in Iceland next week.

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