Irish League duo are hungry to finish the job in Bosnia and Denmark
Danske Bank Premiership big guns Linfield and Larne are confident they will both be celebrating a memorable night of European football this evening.
Both sides are well poised to progress to the third qualifying round of the Uefa Europa Conference League, but they must overcome tough hurdles tonight.
The Blues take a commanding 4-0 lead into the tie at the home of Bosnian champions Borac Banja Luka (7pm), whose manager Marko Maksimović has stepped down in a bid to spark the team into life.
European play-off winners Larne are also defending a lead as they take a 2-1 advantage to Danish side AGF Aarhus (6pm).
The Invermen had relished their first taste of European football this year and, after their win over Bala Town, the club is hoping to make more special history, while Linfield are firm favourites to seal a tie with either Belarus’ Shakhtyor Soligorsk or Fola Esch of Luxembourg.
If Larne can finish the job tonight they will book a clash with Portuguese side FC Paços de Ferreira, who finished in fifth place last season and are based in Porto.
Larne hero Tomas Cosgrove said: “We showed a lot of belief in the first leg and it’ll be the same over there. There’s no point going into a game like this not believing you can win.”
Linfield defender Matthew Clarke echoed that defiance when he said: “It will be a different game here with the heat, but if we can produce the same level of performance again we can go through. We put in the hard graft to leave us in a great position and we must face this test head on.
“We have confidence in our own ability and there’s no reason why we can’t get to the next round.”
Larne striker David McDaid has signed a two-year contract extension at the club, while Cliftonville midfielder Daire O’Connor has joined Ayr United.