Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Feeney is relishing chance to extend his Euro journey

All to play for: Warren Feeney's Blues take a 1-0 lead to Sweden

Warren Feeney has challenged his Linfield players by telling them that everything is in place for them to record a famous European success in Sweden tomorrow night.

The Blues have been in Stockholm since Monday afternoon in order to have the best possible preparation for their Europa League second leg clash with AIK Solna.

With Feeney's men leading 1-0 from the first leg, thanks to Andy Waterworth's late goal, they have a great opportunity to go one better than last season, when they lost to a late goal from Xanthi of Greece at the same stage.

Nothing is being left to chance by Feeney. He did his research on AIK well ahead of the first meeting, he has watched them and by the time tomorrow's game comes around the team will have spent three days in Sweden focusing on ensuring that they avoid defeat.

If they do just that, they'll book a meeting with either FC Astana of Kazakhstan or Hapoel Tel-Aviv from Israel, with Astana 3-0 up from the first leg.

"The important thing was to get over early and get a couple of days to rest and then work on a couple of things leading up to the game on Thursday," said Feeney.

"The thing is to rest and prepare right. The facilities are brilliant, everything is in place for us and we've just got to get it right on the park now.

"The squad is good at the moment, there is a good buzz about the place and after the win the other night we're going to go in confident and hopefully we'll get the right result."

Solna are currently second in the Allsvenskan, but lost 4-1 to Falkenbergs – who are managed by Henrik Larsson – on Sunday.

"I watched part of the game, that's two defeats and for the size of club they are, they'll be looking to bounce back straight away," said Feeney.

"It's going to be a different ball game, they are on their home patch with a hostile crowd and it's going to be different for us but it's a challenge I am sure the boys are relishing."

Northern Ireland's opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Hungary will be played in the Albert Florian Stadium in Budapest, home of Ferencvaros.

The match on Sunday September 7 will have a 5pm (BST) kick-off.

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