Borac Banja Luka’s manager Marko Maksimović has resigned in an attempt to ‘shock’ the side into a dramatic Europa Conference League comeback against Linfield.
The Blues won last week’s second qualifying round first leg 4-0 at Windsor Park and go into tomorrow evening’s second leg as heavy favourites to progress.
However, they will now be facing a team reeling from the sudden departure of a boss that had guided Borac to its first Bosnian Premier League title in ten years.
"The reason is his desire to shake the team with this shock before tomorrow's rematch against (Linfield),” read a statement on the club website.
The announcement goes on to explain that the decision is not as knee-jerk as it may seem, having involved discussions with the board after their last gasp Champions League defeat to CFR Cluj earlier this month and most ‘intensely’ since the weekend.
Domestically, Borac’s title defence hasn’t started off as planned with draws in both of their opening games either side of last week’s defeat in Belfast and now the boss says it’s easier to change his own position rather than ‘50’ other people.
He did point out that he will be cheering on the team, which he first managed between 2015 and 2017 before returning last year, when they take to the pitch tomorrow night.
"I am not leaving because of any failure, because we have made a serious success,” he said. “Now everyone else needs to do what they need to do. The audience, and everyone else, I'm in the stands tomorrow (for the game against Linfield), that's for sure and I'll cheer because I love this club. This is now a professional decision and I am calm in it.”
As assistant Damir Memišević has also left the club, the team will tomorrow be led by coaches Cedomir Ćulum and Zoran Dragišić.
"We talked intensely, especially in the last three days,” said club vice president Bogoljub Zeljković. “We noticed some things and Mark's decision is that it's easier for him to leave than to change 30-40 people. I wish him luck in the continuation of his career, and we are already starting the search for a new chief of the professional staff.”