After a brilliant first leg display Sligo Rovers will not have a better opportunity to gain only their second victory ever in Europe as they face Vorskla Poltava in the second leg, third qualifying round of the Europa League this Thursday with a 7.45pm kick off.
Rovers come into the game deadlocked with Poltava after the first leg ended nil all. Yet it could have been so much better for Rovers as they spurned a number of goal scoring opportunities that would have given them that all important away goal to take back to the Showgrounds.
The one pleasing aspect of Rovers performance and one that they will have to replicate on Thursday was their huge work rate that they put in for the 90 minutes. Rovers never allowed Poltava any real clear cut chances in the first leg and if they do the same on Thursday then they will give themselves a huge chance of advancing to the next stage of the competition.
Players like Jason McGuinness and Gavin Peers who both had outstanding games in the first leg will again need to be at their best. Their containment of Poltava’s danger men Roman Bezus and Armend Dallku is something that they will have to reproduce once again on Thursday night.
In attack Alan Kirby and Aaron Greene will have to be far more clinical than they were in the first game as Rovers will only get so many chances before they are punished down the other end of the park.
Conditions should also suit Rovers. The first game was played in 27 degree heat and the much cooler conditions on Thursday should aid Paul Cook’s side.
Poltava will feel that they can arrive at the Showgrounds and do what is needed to get the right result. The were, for the majority of the game, the better team in the first leg. With players like Bezus and Dalku in their side they have the attacking threat to punish any sloppy mistakes from Rovers.
For Sligo to win a lot of little things have to come together. The pace and accuracy of their defence has to be the same as last week. However they have to be far more clinical when scoring chances arrive.
If they can bring everything together on the night and with a sold out crowd behind them Sligo can create a small piece of history and chalk up only their second victory in Europe. It promises to be a hugely entertaining night at the Showgrounds and one not to be missed.