Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Irish League clubs awaiting fate in European draws

Eddie Patterson is hoping for a good draw

The Irish League's European representatives will learn their respective fates in today's opening draws in Nyon, Switzerland.

Champions Cliftonville will end a 15-year exile from the continent's premier club competition when they are introduced to proceedings for the second qualifying round shortly after 11am, with our three Europa League entrants waiting a further hour before discovering who they will be facing as early as next week.

Linfield's seeded status opens up the potential for David Jeffrey's side to enjoy a prolonged stay in the tournament, however both Crusaders and Glentoran will be keeping their fingers crossed that they're spared daunting trips to some unappealing European outposts.

One team they are guaranteed to avoid is CSKA Sofia, who were yesterday dismissed from the competition after filing for bankruptcy over the weekend.

Hristo Stoichkov's side – who have also been relegated – will be replaced in the draw by Bulgaria's oldest outfit, Botev Plovdiv.

The presence of clubs from the Faroe Islands, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein in the seeded pot is a positive for the Crues and Glens – whose boss Eddie Patterson is hoping for good news from Uefa HQ.

He said: "You ask yourself if you'd maybe like a Rosenborg – they're the biggest name in the draw, have fantastic facilities and would be reasonably easy to get to – or do you hope to get one of the lower ranked sides where you'd have a better chance to progress?

"There are a few trips we'd prefer not to be handed, but we'll take what we're given and give it the best shot we can."

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