Linfield defender Sam Roscoe says the club has nothing to fear in Europe and they are ready to give the fans a summer treat.
The Gibson Cup winners begin their Champions League campaign at against The New Saints at Park Hall in Oswestry tonight (7.00pm).
David Healy’s men will be looking to bring a positive result back to Windsor Park for the return leg next Wednesday.
Victory in the Champions League qualifier will open the door to Europa League and Europa Conference League action for the Blues, potentially taking their prizemoney above the £1m mark.
The club’s ultimate goal is to reach the group stages of European competition and its new full-time structure is a major step aimed at making that dream become a reality. While respecting their experienced opponents, who defeated Glentoran last year, there is a quiet confidence in the travelling Linfield camp as their continental adventure is about to get under way.
Former Aberdeen and Ayr United defender Roscoe, who is going into his second season at Windsor Park, is raring to go again.
“I think we have prepared well for Europe this year and the trip to Spain has helped in terms of building fitness and helping the new players bed in,” said Roscoe, whose first goal came in a 2-1 defeat away to Fola Esch of Luxembourg in the Conference League last August.
“To spend a week in each other’s company was great. I think we have to be ambitious and want to qualify for the group stages.
“The introduction of the Conference League is big for clubs like us and with signings coming in early and ready to play in Europe, that will be big for the team as well.
“Everyone in the squad is confident we can go to tough venues and put in performances.
“The way Europe is structured now, the aim from the top of the club to the bottom is to make the group stages, that’s what everyone wants.”
Anthony Limbrick’s men lifted the JD Cymru Premier trophy with a 21 points margin over second-placed Bala Town and this will be the first time Linfield have faced a Welsh league side in Europe.
“You have to respect teams, we are playing champions of their country so you need to do your homework on them,” added Roscoe.
“To win your domestic league means you have done something right but we have to go into the games believing we can win.
“You can get an unlucky draw but I’d like to think we can have a go at anyone with the quality in the squad we have, over the two legs.
“You know what you are getting with TNS, they have experienced players who are used to winning and they have strengthened over the summer.
“It’s important we bring a good result to Windsor for the second leg. We aren’t in Europe for the experience, we want to push on and qualify.”
Healy says his side will not underestimate tonight’s rivals.
“They won their league by a huge landslide and it will be a tough challenge,” he said.
“It’s hard to know what levels you are at until the game is played. I think it’s a great draw for both teams as they both have an opportunity to progress to the next round.”
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