St Pat's defender Younger released from hospital after losing consciousness in collision on Friday night

Good news on injury front for the Saints as head coach Stephen O’Donnell explains why he is taking a less is more approach to this season.

Oliver Younger in action last night before his nasty injury.
Oliver Younger in action last night before his nasty injury.
Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC defender Oliver Younger has been released from hospital after he was given the all-clear from doctors following a nasty collision against Cork City last night.

The on-loan Burnley centre back was knocked unconsciousness after a challenge in the air with Cork substitute Reyon Dillon.

Younger required treatment on the pitch for 10 minutes at Richmond Park, eventually regaining consciousness and being able to communicate with medical staff as he was stretchered off.

“Yeah, he got a bad clatter. He was talking on the ground and moving so that was a positive,” Pat’s head coach Stephen O’Donnell said of the 20-year-old.

“He had his parents over this weekend so that’s not ideal. But he’s a hardy northern [English] boy so he should be alright.  He had a bad cut on the inside of his mouth.”

neale-fenn-with-stephen-odonnell St Pat's head coach Stephen O'Donnell (left) with Cork boss Neale Fenn. Source: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

O’Donnell visited Younger in hospital following the 1-0 win over Cork, a valuable three points that came courtesy of Billy King’s tidy finish 10 minutes into the second half.

While the Scot got the headlines for his goal, O’Donnell was full of praise for auxiliary midfielder Lee Desmond after he picked out the run of the forward with a perfectly-weighted pass over the top.

He has a lot of potential in that position,” the former Dundalk captain believes. “He has played the majority of his career at centre back but he can play in midfield, too. He identified Billy’s run outside to in and it was a great weight of pass. Billy took it well, and we had asked at half time for him to be braver, Cork were pressing, but we wanted him to be braver playing inside and exploiting the space down the side.

“We have two very good players who can play in that [midfield] position. Jamie Lennon and Lee; Lee can go in on that left side or play as a left sided centre half. He is just a good footballer, simple as that, he is a really good footballer who is sharp and we see it in training every day. His composure when he gets on the ball, that can give us a platform to go and play.”

O’Donnell, who took over at Richmond Park towards the back end of the 2019 season having worked as an opposition analyst for Dundalk after hanging up his boots when the Lilywhites won the Premier Division in 2018, is very much of the opinion that less is more when it comes to his squad for this season.

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lee-desmond Lee Desmond will be a key player for Stephen O'Donnell this season. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

He is aware that luck with injuries and suspensions will be crucial as the year progresses and the absence of Younger for the trip to the champions next Friday might just see Desmond drop back to defence.

Regardless, O’Donnell is adamant that keeping a lean squad will help maintain morale among his players and will combat any negative vibes that could seep in when players find themselves left out in the cold for weeks at a time.

When you go smaller with your squad you need players like that, Dean Clarke can dovetail between right back and right wing, he would have also played up front as well for previous clubs. We need players who can dovetail and that’s a decision I’ve made.

“We will need a bit of luck injury wise and suspension wise but I would rather a squad full of lads who know they are not far away on any given week rather than going extra conservative with a bigger squad.

“Then you have to start leaving lads in the stands and can you really be expecting them to come in and train at a proper intensity when they’ve not been in the squad for three or four weeks?

“That’s the way we will operate. I’d rather take that risk with injuries and suspensions than having lads disillusioned because that can bring down the whole tone of training.

“And you can’t blame those individuals who might not be in the squad for four or five weeks because realistically do you expect them to be full of beans coming in on a Monday for training and wanting to work to their maximum?”

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