Vinny Perth has warned that Dundalk FC’s UEFA Champions League first round tie against Riga is “not the foregone conclusion that most people think”. (Pic: Sportsfile)
Vinny Perth has warned that Dundalk FC’s UEFA Champions League first round tie against Riga is “not the foregone conclusion that most people think”.
The Lilywhites face the Latvians at a sold-out Oriel Park on Wednesday night seeking to put themselves in commanding position ahead of the second leg.
Perth believes Riga may have been pleased with drawing the Irish champions and “see an opportunity” for progress in Europe’s elite competition.
Riga are four points clear at the top of Virsliga, but overall have lost almost a third of their games.
Still, Perth has warned against complacency amongst supporters. He pointed particularly to the threat of Ukrainian forward Roman Debelko – a recent recruit to Riga’s ranks – who played for Levadia Tallinn against Dundalk in the Europa League qualifiers last July.
“You would back us against a lot of teams,” Perth said, when asked about his confidence levels ahead of the tie.
“We have watched them a couple of times. It’s not the foregone conclusion that most people think it is.
“It’s a very, very tough tie and we need to bring our A-game if we’re going to go through.
“They’re a really strong footballing team. They have made four, if not five, signings at this stage. They obviously see an opportunity for them to progress to the next round and they have invested.
“Attacking wise, they’re really, really good. They have Debelko who played here for Tallinn. He was a real threat for Tallinn last year, but I think what he brings – in a better side, I think Riga are better than Tallinn – he will be a big threat.
“They’re a top side, they’ve invested heavily, they’re chasing Europe, with a lot of internationals playing for them. It’s going to be a difficult game.”