Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley has admitted he will make changes to his starting line-up against Ludogorets on Tuesday night with a view to avoiding suspensions for a likely Europa League third round clash.

The Hoops were beaten 3-0 by the Bulgarian champions in the Champions League qualifying second round first leg last week in a game in which they were much second-best for the opening 45 minutes.

An improved showing followed, until a preventable injury-time concession consolidated the win for the home side.

The loser of the tie will face Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb, or more likely, Shkupi of North Macedonia, in the second tier competition next week.

Group stage qualification for the Conference League, a Europa League play-off will be on the line next week - a stage which has been the target of the club since the start of the season.

Asked if that game next week will be in the back of his mind for the second leg on Tuesday, Bradley told RTÉ Sport: "It'll definitely come into our thoughts when picking the team.

"We have players on bookings obviously and one or two with knocks. Obviously we want to try and go to win the game but we've got to think of Friday (the beginning of the FAI Cup) and next Thursday."

Roberto Lopes will miss Tuesday's game

The Hoops must plan without Roberto Lopes and Jack Byrne for the game this week.

Lopes, the Cape Verde international, picked up a knock in the 1-1 draw against Drogheda United at the weekend and will undergo a scan on his knee, which could also rule him out for next week and longer depending on the outcome.

Republic of Ireland international Jack Byrne is also out as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Byrne has been struggling with injuries this campaign, although Bradley is confident will be able to come back into contention again soon.

The Hoops boss has also revealed his annoyance at Thursday's opposition being able to secure a landing slot at Dublin Airport for their charter plan, when they were unable to depart from Dublin for the first round game in Malta and had to fly from Shannon.

As well as that, no charters plans were available for the game last week, meaning they had to break the squad up, fly commercially and take a long bus journey for one group.

He said it had an impact on his players: "There is no doubt about it. Put it this way, it didn’t help. I think the players did brilliantly considering what they had to do in the days leading up to the game. Watching back the second half, and in parts of the first half, they were very good.

"You’d have to ask major questions as to why we can’t seem to get a charter plane out of Dublin Airport, but they can fly into Dublin Airport. You’d have to ask serious questions."

Andy Lyons looks set to be the latest player to leave the League of Ireland for British shores, with talks continuing with Championship side Blackpool.

A deal has yet to be agreed between the clubs and he will feature on Tuesday as things stand.

Bradley is unconcerned by the exodus of players from his own club and the league itself: "I think it’s fine. It’s part and parcel of football. Players move on. This league has become a really attractive market since Covid-19 with the impact it has had on finances there. Outside the Premier League the money is not what it used to be.

"This league is a really good market for them. We have to make sure we do our business right and nine times out of 10 get the best fee possible for our players."

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