Match Preview

Bannsiders in Europa League action

COLERAINE are back in competitive action tomorrow evening as they prepare to face Serbian side FK Spartak Subotica in the first leg of their Europa League first round qualifier… (KO 7.45pm)

Ahead of the fixture colerainefc.com caught up with striker Jamie McGonigle who outlines the squad are in a good position ahead of the fixture, he said: “We have been back training for a few weeks and have had some game time under our belt so we are looking forward to the game in Serbia.”

FK Spartak Subotica are relatively unheard of with the Bannsiders faithful but McGonigle admits they have been sizing up their opposition.

“It’ll be a tough fixture as they’re a full-time club and I’d expect them to be a bit fitter because of that.

“I think they’ve played a few more games than us and I believe one of their strikers is meant to be good but hopefully it’s something we can deal with,” he said.

“We will have team meetings in the lead up to the game so that come matchday we’re focused and well prepared.”

The fixture marks the Bannsiders second consecutive appearance in Europe following last season’s defeat to Norwegian outfit FK Haugesund, however, the Coleraine frontman admits the team are in a better position this time around.

“We’ll be well up for it and we’re better prepared compared to this time last year.

“We went to Noway last year with a number of new signings and we didn’t really know what to expect so I think that experience will be good for us this time around.”

With the experience of last season stowed away, both players and management alike will be better prepared for the Serbian objective.

“Last season we got beat 7-0 out in Norway and we came back to the Showgrounds and managed a draw.

“We gave it our all at home and went for it but this year we’ll be looking for a positive result to bring back with us and try to win the tie.

“We’ve a great record at home – last season we went the full campaign without a defeat at home so we’ll not make it easy for them.”

Coleraine will be without the services of manager Oran Kearney and assistant manager William Murphy as the managerial pairing are away on pre-arranged family holidays. John Gregg, Trevor McKendry and Paul Owens will be at the helm in Serbia as they bid to guide the Stripes to victory.

Steven Douglas, Graham Crown and Lyndon Kane are absentees from the match day squad as James McLaughlin could be set for a return to competitive action after his lengthy battle with a cruciate ligament injury.

With soaring temperatures forecast in Serbia, the Bannsiders will know that preparation is key if they are to get anything from the away leg.

Supporters can listen to the Europa League press conference HERE.

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