Interim boss Scott Ruscoe is expecting his New Saints stars to use their European experience and kill off tonight’s Champions League clash with FC Europa.
The Gibraltan champions come to Park Hall (7pm kick-off) after winning their league for the first time in more than 60 years.
But Ruscoe says his team’s pre-season preparations have gone well, with a notable draw with Scottish giants Rangers last week, and says his players will be out to attack from the start.
“A lot of our players have huge European experience, whether as part of the squad, being on the bench or as a starter,” he said.
“Some of our pros need to be showing they’re leaving off from when they finished last year.
“We’re at home and we like to think it’s a fortress. We don’t like anyone coming here and taking the game to us.
“I don’t see anything different here. I respect what Europa have done in winning their league but believe me, we’re going to be going at them from the first whistle.
“We’re leaving nothing to the second leg and will give it a right go. I think we’re fitter and stronger than they are and will be able to last the 90 minutes.
“Obviously, Europa aren’t going to be near the quality of Rangers but if we can do what we did in matching them when we’re at home at Park Hall, we can show how good we are.
“They’ve got good players including Gibraltan internationals, but I think we’ve got more than enough as a team.”
The Saints are back from Scotland where they had another successful training camp, including the 1-1 draw with Rangers and a defeat to St Johnstone.
Ruscoe says he had plenty of positives to take from the two games and insists he has a starting line-up worked out.
He added: “We played against some very good players at Rangers – I spoke to their manager Pedro Caixinha before the game and asked him what sort of team he was putting out and told me it was near enough the one starting their Europa League game on Thursday.
“I went back and told the lads the sort of calibre of player they would be up against and that got everyone up for the game.
“That showed in the performance and the result because the lads were fantastic in all aspects; fitness, defensively and how we looked after the ball.
“You always look at how players are going to train, but in my mind, I’ve got my match squad and starting XI. We’ve got our plans in place for the game.”
n The main car park at Park Hall will be restricted to use by players, officials and hospitality pass holders. Fans are asked to park in the field adjacent to the ground, and not on the road.
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