BELFAST’S other two Irish League teams in the Europa League go into battle on Thursday evening.
And the Glentoran and Crusaders will be hoping to join Linfield into the next stages of the competition.
The Blues secured a 3-0 win over the team from the Faroe Islands to take the tie 5-0 on aggregate.
Manager David Jeffrey said afterwards: “I thought the players were superb. They had a lot of hunger.”
So Glen’s boss Eddie Patterson and Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter will be hoping their players can come up with the same performances and hunger this evening and get their teams into the next round of the Europa League.
For Glentoran, it could be a bumper pay for the east Belfast club who are struggling financially (KICK OFF 7.30PM).
And if they win Thursday’s Europa League qualifier second leg against the Icelandic team, the Oval coffers could be swollen by as much as £100,000.
The cash-strapped Glens head into the Oval game after holding the Icelandic league leaders to an impressive 0-0 draw last week.
“Even to get through to the next stage would be worth in the region of £90,000 to £100,000,” said Eddie Patterson.
“That’s massive money the way we are at the moment.”
But despite the financial problems and players refusing to train until their wages were paid, the Glens secured European football by defeating runaway Premiership winners Cliftonville in the Irish Cup final.
“You also have the incentive of bringing Standard Liege to the Oval and the kind of gate that would produce,” added Patterson
“But money aside, the prestige and historical point of view of getting through with this group of very young players would be a fantastic feat.”
However, Patterson knows Glentoran have still a “huge task” on their hands in Thursday’s second leg.
“They are top of their league and their fitness levels are above our own,” added the Glens boss.
“But there is a huge carrot for us in the form of Standard Liege in the next round.
“Our defence and midfield excelled in Iceland and we snuffed them out.
“If we put in the same defensive performance and keep a clean sheet we have every opportunity of going through.”
Jimmy Callacher comes into defence as Callum Birney is ruled out by an ankle injury and midfielder Jim O’Hanlon is doubtful with a similar injury.
Meanwhile, Crusaders are in Norway trailing 2-1 for a tricky tie against a slick Rosenborg team (KICK OFF 6PM).
However, they be without defender David Magowan as he is on honeymoon.
“Rosenborg are a very good side and we have to be at our best to get anything out of the game,” said Crues boss Stephen Baxter.
“It’s a tough ask but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
“They are a classy team, they pass the ball particularly well and are much fitter than us,” added Baxter.
“We have to stick to our game plan, frustrate them as long as possible and we’ll see what the last 30 minutes has to offer.”