Belfast Telegraph

Elebert has plenty of unpleasant memories of Soligorsk

By David Mason

Glenavon defender Dave Elebert knows a thing or two about Shakhtyor Soligorsk. The much-travelled defender has already briefed his manager Gary Hamilton on what to expect in tonight's Europa League first qualifying round clash at Mourneview Park.

Elebert was part of the Derry City squad that faced the Belarus side last season. And, even though he didn't take part because of injury, the 6-1 aggregate scoreline will certainly have the Lurgan Blues on red alert.

"As soon as I heard the draw, I immediately recognised the name. They are a class outfit," said the former Brandywell hard man, who has also had spells with Preston, Hamilton and Shamrock Rovers.

"Soligorsk are regulars in this tournament and actually got through to the play-off stage last season, but were eventually beaten by PSV Eindhoven, so I think that says everything about them."

Having joined the Lurgan Blues in January on an 18-month contract, Elebert is hopeful of nailing down a first-team shirt in the season ahead.

"It's been a bit stop-start due to injury and a few things," he added. "The team did fantastically well last season to claim third place in the league against all the odds. But this will be something entirely different. Soligorsk are a quality outfit. It will be a testing 90 minutes, there is no doubt about that."

Elebert believes it's crucial that Glenavon don't concede in this opening tie.

"We have to try and give ourselves a fighting chance in the second fixture," he said. "But it won't be easy. They are going to have a lot of the ball, we know that. We are going to have to do a lot of chasing and defend deep.

"We'll have to soak up a lot of pressure and try to hit them on the break. We have players in our team who can hurt them."

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