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Coleraine prepare for European clash

COLERAINE take on FK Haugesund in the first leg of the Europa League as they aim to take a positive result back to The Showgrounds (KO 6pm)…

Coleraine will play their first European match since 2004 when they take on Norwegian outfit FK Haugesund in Scandinavia. The Bannsiders warmed-up for the fixture by defeating Derry City 1-0 thanks to a late header from Eoin Bradley.

FK Haugesund – who qualified for the competition by finishing 4th in the Eliteserien last season – are currently 8th in the table having played 14 matches. They competed in the 2014-15 Europa League and defeated Airbus UK in the first round, before being eliminated by FK Sarajevo.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney will be without the services of Chris Johns, Lyndon Kane, Steven Douglas and David Kee for the fixture. Furthermore, the Stripes will be monitoring the fitness of midfielder Ian Parkhill who is carrying a knock. However, latest signing Matthew Kirk is eligible to play and will travel.

The boss admits the home side will enjoy the majority of possession, but has urged his troops to maintain a threat at the other end of the pitch.

“Haugesund will have a lot of the ball on Thursday night and it’s about us making the correct decisions and ensuring we are compact,” he said.

“We have a lot of legs in our team and hopefully we can get forward at the right times.

“If we are going to get something out of the game on Thursday night it will have to be a disciplined performance, but we will also need to carry a threat.

The club charter has sold out and over 150 supporters are expected to be in attendance at the Haugesund Stadion, and Kearney believes they will do the club ‘proud’ tomorrow evening.

“It will be brilliant to have supporters over at the game cheering us on,” Kearney revealed.

“Fair play to Colin McKendry and Greig McAfee for the shift they have put in to secure this.

“I would say we will bring more fans than a lot of the away clubs will at this stage of the competition.

“It’s a credit to everyone who is going there and I’m sure they will do us proud.

As ever, those unable to attend can follow the latest updates via the club’s official Twitter page (@ColeraineFC).