Bradley clinging to hope as Rovers face uphill task in Sweden

Derry too facing a difficult assignment but Dundalk best-placed of Irish clubs to advance

Stephen Bradley: “We’re away to a good side who obviously have the advantage. But we believe we can cause them problems, like we did at home.”  Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Stephen Bradley: “We’re away to a good side who obviously have the advantage. But we believe we can cause them problems, like we did at home.” Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

 

Believing, as he did in the first leg in Dublin, that his side can ask questions of Swedish opponents AIK, Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley wants his players to now show a more clinical edge as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the Europa League in Stockholm’s Friends Arena this evening.

A brief lapse in concentration cost Rovers the first leg at Tallaght Stadium as Daniel Sundgren provided that composed finish the League of Ireland side lacked to give the unbeaten Allsvenskan leaders a narrow, though deserved win.

“We believe we can go and cause them problems like we did [in Dublin],” said Bradley. “We believed we could score at home and nothing has changed. I don’t think we surprised them in the first leg. They watched us in our three previous games. I think they fully understood that they were playing a decent side.”

Bradley accepts it’s a tall order against a team that fielded eight senior internationals last week.

AIK have since added midfielder Sebastian Larsson, who made his 104th appearance for Sweden against England in the World Cup quarter-final in Russia, though he’s not registered to play tonight.

“We’re up against it. You can’t say anything different,” said Bradley. “We’re away to play a good side who obviously have the advantage. But, as I said, we believe we can cause them problems, like we did at home.

“We just need to be more ruthless in the final third and believe we can score,” added Bradley who remains without injured midfielder Brandon Miele and striker Sean Boyd.

Having lost their first leg 2-0, Derry City face perhaps the biggest task of the night for the domestic sides away to Belarusians Dinamo Minsk.

“Their early goal in the first leg was a massive blow, but we fought back well after that,” said Derry manager Kenny Shiels of conceding inside the opening minutes at the Brandywell.

“There’s no point in going out there gung-ho and leaving ourselves too open, but we do need to show more intent in the final third. We need to stay in the tie as long as we can because if we do that and can nick one ourselves, that would certainly ask questions.”

Derry are without injured midfielder Nicky Low while right-back Conor McDermott, sent off in the first leg, is suspended.

Greatly in-form Dundalk provide the realistic hope of any Irish side making it through as Dylan Connolly’s solitary goal from their first leg in Tallinn gives them a major advantage in their return with FC Levadia at Oriel Park.

Midfielders Stephen O’Donnell and John Mountney, along with defender Stephen Folan, remain out injured for Stephen Kenny’s league leaders.

“We won’t be underestimating them,” said Kenny of the Estonian side. “There’s still very much a game to be won. We have to go and do ourselves justice and put in a performance to win another European game.

“European nights can be special. We want to create special nights here. We want to make new history. You have to have the determination to do that. It is one step at a time for us. We’re not looking beyond [tonight], we have to fight hard to get the result and come through.”

Fixtures

AIK (1) v Shamrock Rovers (0), live on eirsport1, 6.0

Dinamo Minsk (2) v Derry City (0), 4.0

Dundalk (1) v FC Levadia (0), 7.45

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.