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Europa League previews

Updated: Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 11:15 | Comments

Derry's Patrick McEleney celebrates scoring the opening goal
Derry's Patrick McEleney celebrates scoring the opening goal

Dundalk, Sligo Rovers and Derry City are all in action in the second leg of the Europa League first round qualifiers this evening. 

Aberystwyth Town v Derry City, Park Avenue, 6.45pm

Derry City travel to Wales with qualification all but assured after last week's 4-0 dismissal of 10-man Aberystwyth Town at The Brandywell.

With a dominant display in which Derry scored two goals in both halves, including a first senior goal for Mark Timlin, Peter Hutton's men could have added even further to their tally had it not been for the heroics of sub goalkeeper Phil Draper.

Hutton refused to accept that progress to the second qualifying round was a foregone conclusion, however.

"We are really looking forward to this game, although we had a convincing win at home last Thursday we are still reinforcing to the lads that this is only half-time," Hutton said.

"We know we need to be very professional in our approach and see this game out to the final whistle.

"We know to expect Aberystwyth to come out all guns blazing and it's important how we handle that. We have been on a good run of late and the lads are looking to keep that going."

Derry will be without the services of Timlin (hip flexer), and Ryan McBride (ankle), Rory Patterson (dead leg) and Dean Jarvis (foot) will all undergo late fitness tests.

Sligo Rovers v FK Banga, The Showgrounds, 7.00pm

Sligo's tie with Lithuanians FK Banga is delicately poised after a scoreless draw last week.

The Bit O'Red missed some good goalscoring opportunities in the first leg and will be hoping the visitors don't try to park the 'Bangabus' and frustrate them again.

Danny Ledwith (groin) and Joseph Ndo (calf) have been ruled out, while Jeff Henderson is also unlikely to be fit with a foot injury. 

Sligo boss John Coleman is well aware of the dangers of conceding an away goal but insists his side's approach will be positive.

"It is well-balanced," he said. "I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the away goal [but] we can’t get obsessed with them getting an away goal.

"If we win the game we go through, it’s as simple as that and that’s what our objective is going to be.

"I know we’re good enough but it doesn’t always grant you the passage to where you want to be .

"I’m pleased with the quality we’ve got. I’m pleased with the work-rate and effort that the players have shown in the short space of time that I have been here.

"We’re not going to take anything for granted. You just don’t turn up on the pitch and expect it to happen.

"It is going to take a lot of hard work, possibly a little bit of luck and a bit of quality as well. I think we have enough of that.

"Hopefully it’ll be a special night in Rovers history and my own history.”

Dundalk vs Jeunesse Esch, Oriel Park, 7.45pm

Dundalk take a two-goal advantage into the return leg at Oriel Park after a fine win in Luxembourg.

A second-half brace from Richie Towell gave the Irish side two crucial away goals to put them firmly in the driving seat in the tie.

They have since had a break of eight days - they did not play in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division at the weekend - but Stephen Kenny and his troops are well aware that the job isn't complete yet.

Dundalk will be without long-term injured captain Stephen O’Donnell (knee) but Keith Ward may come back into contention after recovering from his hairline fracture of the back bone, as will Patrick Hoban who has come back strongly following knee surgery.

Mark Rossiter is a doubt with a knee problem but David McMillan is free to play as his suspension only applies to domestic competition.

Speaking to Dundalk's website, defender Sean Gannon stressed the importance of maintaining the high level of performance they produced in the first leg.

“We can’t let it drop now," he said. "We know that there is still work to do and we will be looking to get the job done.

"That’s the beauty of two-legged ties and we know we have to refocus ourselves for the return leg but we’ll be ready for it.

“We all want to go as far as we possibly can and Jeunesse are tough opponents.

"That was my first European game last week and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the buzz with the lads so hopefully we can keep it going now.”

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