Donegal manager Declan Bonner believes the fitness and condition of his players could hold the key over the next couple of weeks.
Donegal face a must-win tie on Saturday evening at Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park.
Anything less than victory and 2018 will be all over bar the shouting for Donegal – who welcome Tyrone to Ballybofey on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Roscommon will be hurting badly after a heavy 18-point reversal to Tyrone last weekend. Their manager, Kevin McStay, has spoken of how his players lagged way behind Tyrone on Saturday.
And Bonner says there is more to come from his panel.
“Our overall fitness, they’ve not been at their optimum level yet,” Bonner says. “There is more in the tank. The lads are in great shape because of Paul Fisher and our strength and conditioning team.
“We feel there’s more to come. The games are coming thick and fast and that’s why that sort of conditioning is so important. They’re ready to play week-in, week-out.
“We’ve had very few injuries of the nature you’d expect – Patrick McBrearty’s was from a freakish late challenge that came across him – and that’s credit to Kevin Moran, Cathal Ellis and the medical team.
“We feel the team is in a good place and we feel we can show more. We have a lot of work going on and we’re ready to go.”
Paddy McGrath will be fit to face the Rossies and there are no further fresh injury concerns.
Bonner is aware that it will be a different and determined Roscommon that will oppose his men this weekend.
He said: “Roscommon are always going to be dangerous. Tyrone were very, very good last weekend, no doubt. Roscommon folded, but they will be a difficult team to beat in Healy Park.
“We need to go there and get a result. It’s knock-out from here on.”Tags: