Stephen Bradley still harbours hopes of Shamrock Rovers qualifying for the knock-out phase of the Europa Conference League.

A tall order for the Hoops who sit rock bottom of their group at the half-way stage of proceedings, having acquired just the solitary point from their three games played.

Rovers opened their campaign with a hard-fought draw over Swedish league side Djurgardens at Tallaght Stadium, however, they were well beaten twice on the road, losing 3-0 to both Gent in Belgium and Molde in Norway.

The four teams in the group are, however, taking points off each other and the League of Ireland champions could feasibly play their way back into contention of a top-two finish with a victory over the visitors to Tallaght Stadium tomorrow night.

In fact, Rovers have two home games in succession with the arrival of Gent later this month, and Bradley is hoping that his side have something to play for in the final group game, which takes place in Stockholm against Djurgardens on 3 November.

A tough ask for a side also looking to keep their title push intact on the home front, but one that the manager is preparing for as he sends his side out to hopefully play to a higher level compared to last week, when the manager named an understrength side for the game in Molde.

"I think we can [qualify]," said Bradley, speaking at the pre-match press conference. "If we win our next two games, it's all to play for against Djurgardens.

"But we have to take care of a difficult game tomorrow night and then Gent, and both games we lost quite comfortably away, and we know we have to [reach our levels] if we want to win both, but I think if we win both, we are right there, because the group is really tight."

Key players like Jack Byrne, Graham Burke and Rory Gaffney were left out of the starting XI to face Molde last Thursday, with one eye, perhaps, on Sunday’s league clash with Shelbourne.

And while the selection certainly hampered the Hoops’ chances of getting a result at Molde, the manager explained that there was a lot more to consider than just the 90 minutes of action for his players, while hinting that a stronger side will line out for the return clash.

The manager must plan without Chris McCann and Simon Power for the European encounter, while Andy Lyons is a doubt and will be assessed before the game.

"When you’re playing away from home in Europe, it’s not just the 90 minutes," said Bradley.

"The players that play those 90 minutes, obviously have to travel, have to get on buses, have to get on planes, and you’re not getting home until four or five in the morning, travelling from Belfast or Shannon or wherever. So you have got to factor that in for the next game as well.

"So when you’re playing at home you can approach the game in a different way and thankfully our next two games are at home and I think that will help us."

Rory Gaffney (centre) celebrates his late winner in the Dublin derby

Rovers bounced back from the defeat in Norway in the best possible way, coming from behind to beat Dublin rivals Shels with a late, late Gaffney winner to secure the three points and edge the club towards their third league title in succession.

And while Bradley admitted that it was important to secure the victory, he emphasised the fact that the team did not need to get their spirits lifted due to the manner of the loss against Molde.

"Sunday was important for many reasons obviously. But we don’t need a pick me up, it’s nothing like that, the group have been in a good place for quite some time," said Bradley.

"But it was really important in the context of the league; last ten minutes, you’re losing 2-1 and you go and win the game.

"It shouldn’t surprise anyone who has watched this team for a number of years, the character, the desire, the togetherness, the belief, and the trust in the process in what we do, it’s always been there.

"And when you have that, you get results. Sometimes it’s not enough, but we know if we stick to our beliefs, nine times out of ten it will be enough, and the players are fantastic in that regard.

"Whether we win lose or draw games, we move on very quickly. We won an important game on Sunday, but Monday morning, it’s gone, it’s done, and we have to focus on a difficult game tomorrow."

Rovers have good reason to take a confident approach to the home tie with Molde tomorrow night, as Bradley’s side have yet to suffer a defeat at their home ground this season, including big European wins against Ludgorets and Ferencvaros, while drawing with Djurgardens.

"Any team that is unbeaten in 12 months would say that they would fancy playing anyone at home, and we’re no different," said Bradley.

"But we’re not naïve enough to think that these could become a bad team overnight. They beat us quite comfortably last week and they won 5-0 at the weekend.

"They are a very good side, we know that. But we believe that when we perform to our levels, we believe we can beat anyone here and hopefully we can show that tomorrow night."