LINFIELD boss David Jeffrey hopes his players don’t fall victim to the sweltering conditions of Greece when they resume their Europa League campaign on Thursday evening.
The Windsor Park giants are preparing to face Skoda Xanthi in a second qualifying round, first leg tie (kick off 7.15 pm UK time).
Linfield booked their place in the second stage with a convincing 5-0 aggregate victory over Faroese underdogs IF Fuglafjordur.
Their next European instalment presents a sterner test, however, with superior ranked opposition and the weather posing plenty of problems for Jeffrey’s troops.
“We know it’s going to be a very difficult assignment,” Jeffrey admitted.
“It was quite a journey getting here – some six-and-a-half hours on a charter flight. But there is also the heat of Greece at this time of year.
“It just heightens the challenge, which was already big enough. In saying that we are prepared and relishing the test ahead.
“We have been focused in training and and we are looking ahead to the game.”
Linfield experienced similar extreme temperatures in last year’s Champions League qualifiers when they played Cypriot outfit AEL Limassol.
The Blues fell to a 3-0 defeat away from home before earning a creditable scoreless draw at Windsor.
“It was unbelievably hot in Cyprus last year,” Jeffrey added.
“We were told that such was the heat, the game wouldn’t have been played, had it been a Cypriot league game.
“It’s interesting that the kick-off time in Greece will be 9.15pm.
“I think that’s about a quarter past seven back home, so they’re looking ahead and not playing the game until they hope that the heat will have subsided to a degree.
“We always learn when we’re away in Europe and last year was no exception. That experience will help us prepare accordingly.”
Linfield are without goalkeeper Alan Blayney, defender Mark Haughey and striker Andy Waterworth for tonight’s game.
Ryan Henderson and Daviod Armstrong – who remain on the transfer list – have also not travelled to Greece.
Match streams for tonight’s game with Xanthi: