DUNDALK manager Ian Foster has called on supporters of not just Dundalk to support the Lilywhites when they take on CS Grevenmacher in the Europa League tonight (kick-off 7pm).
“It’s a massive occasion for the club,” says Foster. “It is our first European game at Oriel Park in 19 years and it is a very exciting time for the club, the town and the whole league.
“There are some tickets still available but I would hope that come kick-off that is not the case.
“I would also hope to see fans of other clubs showing their colours and coming to Oriel Park to support us. Hopefully, in return, we can do the club, the town and the Airtricity League proud and become the first Irish side of the year to make it through a round in Europe.”
Midfielder Tom Miller says that the reward of playing Bulgarian side Levski Sofia in the next round will be a “massive incentive” as Dundalk go into tonight’s second leg first qualifying round game on the back of a dramatic 3-3 draw in Luxembourg.
“It definitely drives you to want to win this game against Grevenmacher even more because we know we’d have Levski in the next round,” says Miller.
“That would be brilliant.”
Reflecting on the first leg at the Stade Josy Barthel in Luxembourg, Miller observes: “I thought we started off quite bright and the first half went well, but I felt the heat and the humidity of the place definitely caught up on us at the end. But we got three away goals which is always good. Obviously, conceding three goals was not ideal – we should have played the game down and tightened it up and tried to hold on to the two-goal lead. It’s all to play for now, and it has made it a little bit harder for us at home. But going into a home game at 3-3 is not bad – I’m happy enough.”
For tonight’s game, Ian Foster remains without Liam Burns, Peter Cherrie and Michael Synnott, but he is able to welcome back Ross Gaynor, Michael McGowan, Garry Breen and Ciarán McGuigan from suspension.
Foster knows his side ought to be regarded as favourites given how the tie is balanced but, while optimistic, he is not underestimating Grevenmacher’s capacity to spring another surprise.
“It will not be easy because CS Grevenmacher have some excellent players, particularly in the final third of the pitch,’’ he says. “But I am sure that if my players play at the same tempo, with the same desire and hunger to progress as they did in the first game, then we stand a very good chance of progressing into round two of the competition.”
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