Dundalk’s Latvian international Raivis Jurkovskis is set to take part in Friday night’s league meeting with the Shamrock Rovers, even though he has just won a grueling hat-trick in the World Cup.
Full-back Jurkovskis played the 270 minutes for his country in the March window, with a home loss to Montenegro, an away loss to the Netherlands, then a 3-3 draw in Turkey on Tuesday where he played in a comeback.
He returned from Turkey to Ireland early yesterday morning and while this schedule would exclude most players from the frame for Tallaght, team manager Shane Keegan has suggested their new signing’s exceptional fitness levels apply different rules. .
“Any normal player you would probably rule them out, but he’s a machine so I think he’s going to have a good chance,” Keegan said, with Dundalk in need of a result against his rivals after his shock loss. against Finn Harps last Friday while Jurkovskis was out
“That is his style of play, I would say he’s done about 8 miles per game, but I’m sure when I ask him how he’s doing he’ll say ‘good’.
“He has to be one of the least demanding footballers I have ever met. He just comes every day, doesn’t really open his mouth all day, keeps up with his job and all the questions you ask him are always has a one-word answer and it’s always positive.It’s as low maintenance as you could ask for, it’s a dream in that sense.
Jurkovskis (24) was a winter rookie from FK Liepāja and played on the right wing of his new employers, replacing Sean Gannon who is now part of Friday’s opposition, but it was noted how well he was effective left-back for his country.
“He was amazing (against Turkey),” Keegan continued.
“We were just joking down that every time the ball went to the winger he would take off on a straddle or inside lap about 100 yards long and you yell at him ‘No, put the brakes on’ you like it, stop, stop, stop ‘, but he was brilliant and his assist for their goal was exceptional. “
Meanwhile, Keegan has suggested that concerns over regular playing time were the reason North American rookies Taner Dogan and Terique Mohammed cut loans at Athlone Town ahead of the Premier League season.
US midfielder Dogan and Canadian defender Mohammed signed deals with Dundalk before the start of the season, but signed with Athlone until July.
But Athlone said last week the loans were terminated prematurely without giving a reason. Keegan did not provide a definitive answer but suggested that issues regarding their place in Athlone’s squad was a factor – Dogan spent the second half of last season with Athlone, but this change was born out of a training at Dundalk with the club’s American owners eager to recruit from their necks of the woods.
However, the fact that Mohammed and Dogan have fought to make it to the Athlone team indicates that they have a bit of work to do to be good enough for Dundalk.
“It looked like Athlone wanted to take them at the start and I don’t know what has changed,” Keegan said.
“I just think the opportunities to play were going to be more limited than we thought.
“Once it became clear that the playing time was going to be very, very limited, it didn’t make sense for them to be there, just put them back to practice here in this environment.
“If it takes them three or four months to try to make their way into an Athlone squad and there is a month left on the loan deal, then what’s the point?
“Wouldn’t they be better off coming back here using those three or four months to try and improve in the areas where they need to improve to try to make their way here.
“Are they going to oppose it to force their way here? Of course they are. There’s no question about that, but we’ll see how it turns out.”