Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Linfield aiming for Euro win after Faroe Islands draw

Linfield manager David Jeffrey

David Jeffrey believes Linfield have been handed a great opportunity to claim their first ever win since the European Cup became the Champions League.

The Blues will become the first Irish League club to face opposition from the Faroe Islands when they take on B36 Torshavn in the first qualifying round.

The Windsor Park boss, however, has already warned his players against complacency by reminding them that Northern Ireland were staring down the barrel of a defeat to the Faroe’s national team in Euro 2012 qualifying before being mightily relieved to come away with a 1-1 draw.

“This draw has given us an opportunity to progress,” said Jeffrey.

“We have got to think of it in those terms, but not to the point that we start to believe that the tie is a foregone conclusion.

“We must remember that our own international team went over to the Faroe Islands not so long ago and struggled to a 1-1 draw and we are also coming up against a team that is in mid-season, so there are a number of reasons why we can’t take this tie for granted.”

Chelsea’s Champions League victory last month saw Linfield drop into the first qualifying round for the first time. The Blues came out of the hat first, but they are awaiting official Uefa approval before confirming that the first leg will be at Windsor Park next week.

If successful Linfield will face Limassol of Cyprus in the second round.

North Belfast rivals Cliftonville and Crusaders are both off to Scandinavia in their Europa League first round ties.

The Crues will meet former Champions League group stage participants Rosenborg of Norway — who beat Linfield in the qualifiers two years ago — with the first leg at Seaview next Thursday, July 5.

Cliftonville face Kalmar of Sweden, with the draw handing the Reds an away trip next week. The clubs, however, have agreed to switch the ties and Tommy Breslin’s men are now waiting for Uefa to ratify that before they can officially confirm the dates for the games, with their home tie also expected to be played on Thursday week.

Portadown are set to kick-off the Irish League’s European adventure, with their home tie against Shkendija 79 of Macedonia being pencilled in for next Tuesday, July 3.

Like Cliftonville the Ports were also drawn away from home in the first leg, but are reluctant to play at Shamrock Park on July 12.

A reversing of the legs and a new date for the games is expected to be confirmed within 24 hours.

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