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"We're just delighted to be back" - Pat's boss Stephen O'Donnell on restart




St Pat's manager Stephen O'Donnell is preparing to take his team to his former club, reigning League of Ireland champions Dundalk, on the first night of the resumption of the SSE Airtricity League. 

The Saints won two and lost two in their four matches before the pandemic brought the league to a halt while Dundalk are three-points behind Shamrock Rovers at the summit of the table.

Limited crowds will be attendance due to the cap of 200 people at outdoor events while clubs voted to reduce the season to 18 matches in order to complete the campaign this year.

"Look, ideally you'd say no but we're just delighted to be back," the six-time League of Ireland Premier Division winner said  on Off The Ball when asked whether it's fair for the season to be condensed to 18 games.

"An 18 game season, half of what the original calendar was meant to be, so you'd say no but these aren't normal times and at the minute my mindset is take what you're given.

"Any other year if something was put forward at the start of the campaign saying it's going to be an 18 game season then you'd think that's on the short side and you wouldn't be satisfied with it.

"But you take what you're given in the times which we're living in, so I'm focused on us being back out on the training pitch, with the players back playing the game they love and we're coaching them, that's the way I like to focus on it.

O'Donnell's about to enter his 12th month as a manager, having taken over from Harry Kenny at Richmond Park in August of last year, and he feels that lockdown was a chance to hone his coaching skills.

"I managed to take stock (during the break in the season, we were four games into the season and I managed to take a step back and look at everything.

"Normally you wouldn't be afforded the chance to do that if the season was continuing as you keep getting hit by games and training sessions and preparing for the next game.

"Obviously with the extended break you can look back, consider what you could have done in pre-season, what you could have improved on, and then devise a plan going for.

"It's probably improved me as a coach and as a manager, I still have a lot to learn, I'm a novice, they are areas we can improve on as a coaching team and things which we can share and implement with the players.

 



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