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Dundalk sweating over star man Duffy's arrival for today's Champions League showdown

The Lilywhites are due to face Riga FC at 5.30pm.

Dundalk winger Michael Duffy.
Dundalk winger Michael Duffy.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

2018 PFAI PLAYER OF the Year Michael Duffy may be absent from the Dundalk team when they take to the field at the Skonto Stadium later today to play Riga FC.

Duffy didn’t travel to Riga with the rest of the squad and backroom staff on Monday as his partner had gone into labour in Derry.

Speaking yesterday, Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth said that he expects the 24-year-old winger to be involved for the second leg of their Champions League first round qualifier, which is due to start at 5.30pm Irish time.

However, a Dundalk spokesperson confirmed to The42 that — as of midday — Duffy had yet to arrive in the Latvian capital.

The tie is finely poised at 0-0 following last week’s first leg at Oriel Park. Having dominated the game, Dundalk were frustrated not to gain the upper hand. Nevertheless, an away goal in Latvia is likely to leave them well-placed to advance.

“We trained on Saturday and Sunday and Michael was in and out of that session for different reasons,” Perth said of Duffy’s situation. “So we have prepared with people in that position, but that’s something we quite often do,” he said.

“Whoever plays, we’re picking from a squad that’s ready. We have prepared for Michael. We’ve prepared with him and without him. It’s not a shock to us that there was a possibility of him being delayed here.”

If Dundalk can emerge victorious from Riga, they’ll progress to a second-qualifying-round meeting with the winners of the tie between Partizani (Albania) and Qarabag (Azerbaijan), who also played out a goalless draw in their first leg.

The consolation prize for the losing side this evening in Riga will be a place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, where the losers of the clash between BATE Borisov (Belarus) and Piast Gliwice (Poland) — which is tied at 1-1 — will await.

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