Tuesday’s Champions League 1st Qualifying Round tie kicks off at 1945 Irish time. The match is exclusively available on LOITV (Worldwide, except Iceland)

Last Thursday’s 1-0 win in over Dundalk was a welcome one. What aspects pleased you on the night?

“We just looked a lot more like ourselves in terms of our identity. I didn’t think we showed that at any point in Sligo, which was disappointing. You can lose games and there’s a way to lose them, but in Sligo, although we had chances, it wasn’t us or our identity. It looked a lot more like that against Dundalk. It did change when I made the substitutions, which is to be expected but I thought up to that point we looked a lot like ourselves again which was good to see.”

It was great seeing various players making starts and one or two other returning players coming off the bench and getting minutes, so the starting eleven and subs looks increasingly strong as we approach the FAI Cup and Champions league and attempt to keep our title challenge alive.

“As I said before, we’ve been here and know what to do, which is to focus and get back to what we do. The group is slowly getting back together. We were able to start some big players and then also bring on some big players which is important, and Neil Farrugia and Seán Kavanagh were passed fit so we’re definitely getting there with the bodies. It’s always easier when you have the group available. The continuity and rhythm becomes so much easier.”

Johnny Kenny’s winning goal against Dundalk means he has reached double figures this season, he’ll probably feel he should have had more, but his overall game has been really eye-catching this season.

“That’s the pleasing bit. I would agree and I think Johnny would agree, he would feel he should have maybe another six or seven goals. But that pleasing aspect is he has reached double figures, and his all-round game has improved which is really good to see. We spoke last year, and we know where Johnny is strong, but we knew where he needed to improve and he has worked extremely hard, you can see that hard work every week. But there’s still a lot of work to go, but Johnny is definitely going in the right direction.”

So to the first leg of our Champions League qualifying round away to Vikingur Reykjavik on Tuesday night. You’ve seen them on video and also in person. What have you made of them and what can we expect to see in terms of formation and style?

“They’re a good team, there’s no doubt about that. You can see they are a well-coached team. They are very good in the attacking third of the pitch, have some really good players, their movement is good in that attacking third. It has the makings of a really good tie. I do believe if we’re fully focussed and bring our identity to the game over the two legs, I believe we have enough to go through. It’s going to be an even tie, with two good teams going up against each other.”

You mentioned a few months ago the only workshop or consultation you get in terms of refereeing is when a UEFA official comes to clarify law adjustments or interpretation. Has that happened for this game and if so, what did the group learn?

“It hasn’t happened, but we have been given guidelines in terms of what we’ve all seen in the European Championships. That will carry into our European games, little aspects like speaking to the referee. That can only be from the team captain and any other player will be a bookable offence. We’ll see those little changes come into European competition, which I don’t think is a bad thing for the game. But it may take a bit of getting used to, so hopefully the referee takes that into consideration.”

Graham Burke missed the Dundalk game, is he ok for tomorrow and Aaron McEneff shipped a bad foul from Eoin Kenny in that game and came off, is he ok also and anyone else back as you’d hoped last week?

“As I said last week, Rory Gaffney is still out and will be another few weeks. Graham won’t make Tuesday; he picked up a knock in Sligo. Aaron McEneff won’t make Iceland either. I thought it was poor and has put him out for it and he’s only just come back, but hopefully it’s not too bad and we can get him back quickly. I felt when I watched it back, it was a horrible tackle (on Aaron), up around his knee which can cause real damage. It was a blatant red card for me. Lee Grace will miss Tuesday also, but he’s doing well and should be back for the second leg. Dan Cleary and Darragh Burns came out of the Dundalk game ok. We’ll stay focussed and positive.”