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Dundalk defender Sean Hoare not looking for excuses on Molde’s artificial pitch

Dundalk v KI Klaksvik – UEFA Europa League – Play-Off – Aviva Stadium
(Image credit: Brian Lawless)

Sean Hoare believes Dundalk can have “no excuses” about the artificial pitch at Molde’s Aker Stadion as it reminds the defender of the surface used by the Irish side at Oriel Park.

Dundalk have travelled to Norway for the penultimate game of their Europa League campaign knowing there is only pride to play for as four straight defeats mean they will almost certainly finish bottom of Group B.

But while others would have some trepidation at the prospect of playing on the artificial turf at Molde’s home ground, Hoare believes it will present no problem to his side.

“It’s a lovely stadium,” Hoare said on Dundalk’s website. “It’s enclosed on each side and there’s no wind or anything getting in so we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s similar to our own pitch back home so we’ll have no excuses.”

While Molde will be overwhelming favourites to improve their aim of qualifying for the knockout stages, Dundalk come into the fixture with some confidence after thumping Athlone Town in the FAI Cup last weekend.

Molde prevailed when the sides met in Dublin in October, a match Hoare missed because of injury, and the centre-back knows Dundalk will have to be at their best to end their losing run in Europe.

“They’re a really good, powerful side,” Hoare said. “At this level, you’re going to be up against really good teams and we struggled in the second half of the game. It looked like we just ran out of steam.

“They have an extra gear in them and they upped it so we’ll have to ensure we’re up for it across 90 minutes, stay tight defensively and try and hit them down the sides on the counter.”