Bradley poised for tough Europa League challenge

By Jamie Miley

SHAMROCK Rovers boss Stephen Bradley is all too aware of the huge challenge his side faces heading into tonight’s Europa League second round first leg clash against Apollon Limassol in Tallaght Stadium, but insists they can pull off an upset.

The Cypriots, last season, enjoyed a good taste of European football as they reached the Europa League group stages and picked up a surprise a 3-1 victory over Ligue One side Marseille.

Rovers V Brann Action 12

Shamrock Rovers defender Roberto Lopes wins a high ball ahead of SK Brann’s Gilberto Acosta Evans during last week’s Europa League first round second leg in Tallaght Stadium. (Photo by Paddy Barrett)

They also came through this season’s first round most comfortably, winning 6-0 on aggregate against Spyris Kaunas

Speaking to the media yesterday, the Hoops boss insists he fully believes his Rovers team can achieve victory over two legs and advance in the competition.

“They've [Apollon] a very good side, It's definitely a step up from Brann” he said.

What they did last year in Europe shows where they are. It's going to be a really difficult ask over the two legs, but we've watched a lot of them and I believe we can win it over two legs.”

“They are very good with attacking threats all over the pitch, they score goals and are technically really good.

.“But when we do have it, and when we attack, we can cause them problems.”

One player who won't feature in tonight’s tie is Trevor Clarke, the midfielder yesterday having his medical with English League One side Rotherham United.

“He's been brilliant for us” said Bradley. “He’s a great kid and I wish him nothing but success, and hopefully it will all work out for him.”

Another Rovers midfielder Aaron McEneff, coming off the back of scoring a brace in their emphatic 7-0 triumph over UCD in their latest Airtricity League outing on Sunday, has been keeping an eye on his upcoming opposition and knows what Limassol will bring to Tallaght this evening.

“It’s a European game so they’re going to be good technically” he said

 “They move the ball really well from what you can see and they qualified for the group stages last year. They beat Lazio and finished ahead of Marseilles. That speaks for itself, I’m sure they tried to strengthen their squad again this year so we know they’re going to be strong” he stressed.

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