by Glenn Mason
Bohemians begin their Champions League campaign with a tough away game against Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, kick-off 7.30 pm (Irish time).
Several hundred Bohs fans have made the trip to Salzburg for the second qualifying round tie on the artificial pitch at the Red Bull Arena.
Bohs will be without captain Owen Heary through suspension, but they have plenty of Champions League experience throughout the squad.
Jason Byrne, Killian Brennan, Glen Crowe, Brian Shelly and Paul Keegan are just some of the Bohs squad that have played in this competition with other clubs.
Manager Pat Fenlon guided Shelbourne to the third qualifying round in 2004 and will use some of the experience gained from that campaign against Huub Stevens’ side.
Fenlon and coach Dave Henderson have been to watch the Austrians during their pre-season preparations in recent weeks. They will have noted that they drew 0-0 with Bayern Munich last week.
Graham Carey will miss out because Bohs have been unable to finalise his loan deal from Celtic, due to the transfer ban imposed on the club by the FAI.
Glenn Cronin and Shaun Byrne are also absent, while Anto Murphy is a doubt. Jason McGuinness is set to return from a hamstring injury.
McGuinness is well aware about the task facing himself and his team-mates.
He said: 'They are a very big club. But we will be prepared for them and hopefully we can go over and give a good account of ourselves.
'Being mid-season will help. We have a lot of games under belt so that will definitely help. We will be confident, there is no point in going over there unless you are confident of putting good account of yourself.’
The Austrian champions, who were formerly managed by Giovanni Trapattoni, have come close to reaching the group stage of the competition in recent seasons.
Their path to the last 32 was only blocked by sides of the ilk of Valencia and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Striker Marc Janko will be the main threat to Bohs, as he scored 39 goals in 34 league games last season.
Janko told uefa.com that the group stage was his club’s ultimate aim this season after the disappointment of previous years.
He said: 'There can be no doubt we want to reach the group stage of the Champions League. But it is never easy today, even if it might look so on paper.
'There are no easy opponents anymore and you have to be on top of your game no matter who you are playing.
'Bohemians, our first opponents, are one of the strongest ones available in this round, so we have to be on our guard right away.'