Belfast Telegraph

Sky Blues want an encore on the European stage, insists Jeffrey

By Stephen Alexander

David Jeffrey believes that Ballymena United's European adventure has whetted his players' appetite for more.

The Sky Blues' first foray into continental competition for more than a decade ended this week with a 2-0 Europa League defeat by Odds BK at Seaview, with the Norwegians progressing 5-0 on aggregate.

But having given a commendable account of themselves, Jeffrey says his players are keen for another taste of European action.

"The overall experience has been nothing but positive - for the players, for the club and for the supporters," said Jeffrey after watching his side come within 11 minutes of holding their full-time opponents to a 0-0 draw.

"It's about learning. European football is day and night compared with the Irish League and Bryan McLoughlin and I have often experienced a bit of a lull when you've played in Europe and then have to start back in the Irish League because it's a totally different animal altogether.

"We went away and had a full-time experience with the players for two days - the discipline of what they eat, when they go to bed, taking in information, game preparation. They want to bank that whole experience and to be back in Europe again next year.

"If we do qualify again the powers that be will ensure that it can take place at Ballymena Showgrounds - our fans travelled to Belfast to support their hometown team and the support and appreciation was first class."

Jeffrey also confirmed that Australian goalkeeper Tim Allen - who made a late cameo appearance in the defeat by Odds - has left the club.

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