TNS manager Scott Ruscoe says it is crucially important that his side get things right in the first leg of their Europa League qualifying tie.

The New Saints welcome Lincoln Red Imps to the Venue tomorrow evening, with Ruscoe hoping his side can put themselves in a good position before next week’s return fixture.

He said: “We’ve learnt from the Champions League qualifier last year, also against a team from Gibraltar, that losing in the first leg can set you up for an uphill battle in the second leg.

“Fortunately, last time around we overcame the poor result at home, thanks to great spirit shown by the side.

“We certainly don’t want to put ourselves in a similar position after tomorrow night, especially on the back of such a positive result last week.”

The Saints come into the game having beaten Macedonian champions FC Shkendija 4-0 in their second leg tie.

The poor first leg result in which they lost 5-0 was enough to see them exit the competition, something Ruscoe doesn’t want a repeat of this time around.

“Going into this game we’re on the up, so we don’t want to put ourselves in a similar position to a fortnight ago. It’d feel like we’ve taken three steps forward and two back.”

Ruscoe admits that the side seem to be very similar in playing style to their Gibraltarian opponents last year, FC Europa.

He said: “They have a similar style of play and both have very good, technically gifted players.

“There’s a lot of experience in their side, they’ve won the league for over 10 consecutive seasons and they’re setting the benchmark for football in their country.”

Another incentive for TNS is the possibility of a European tie at Cardiff City Stadium.

Their next qualifying round, should they beat Red Imps, will take place in the capital of Wales with their current ground not meeting UEFA regulations.

Ruscoe said: “It would be a fantastic opportunity for our lads to play at such a nice ground, but we’ve got to make sure we do our work in the next two legs ahead of us first.

“Awaiting us are two great teams who are very well set up, but we need to not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve prepared well for these next two important games and that’s what matters at the moment.”

The Welsh champions would be faced with either Danish champions FC Midtjylland, or the champions of Kazakhstan, FC Astana, should they beat Red Imps over the two legs.

The next round is expected to be played on August 9, with the second leg on August 16.