Having beaten Brann in thrilling fashion then positively battered UCD, Stephen Bradley and his Shamrock Rovers players head into Thursday's game against Apollon Limassol on a bit of a high.
The Dubliners will be without 21-year-old left-back Trevor Clarke, who is expected to complete a move to Rotherham United, though, and will know that the Cypriots will present quite a challenge.
Rovers showed both quality and character under pressure against the Norwegians but they are likely to require further improvement against a side that has made the group stages of this competition in four of the last six seasons and finished six points ahead of Marseille last year after putting Basel out in the play-off round.
“They’re a top team,” acknowledges Bradley. “It’s definitely a step up. Limassol are a better side than Brann. They’re a very good side and their pedigree shows that. They have threats from all over the pitch so we need to really focus for the whole game because they’re very dangerous. We know it’s going to be a difficult tie but it’s one that we’re looking forward to and one we believe we can win.”
Neil Farrugia is still out with Bradley suggesting that he may return for the game in Cork at the weekend and Clarke, who would have been out of contract at the end of this season, will not be involved after having travelled to England to complete what is said to be a €120,000 move to the League One outfit.
“He’s been brilliant for us, a great kid and I wish him nothing but success,” said Bradley of the underage international who joined back in September 2015, “and hopefully it will all work out for him”.
“He definitely has the qualities, it’s just a lot else has to fall into place. But I wish him the best and like I said, hopefully the medical goes okay today, and that will be him.”