Scott Ruscoe says his side will look to use the home draw to their advantage after they found out their opposition for the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League campaign on Monday.

The New Saints will face Slovakian side MŠK Žilina at home in a one-legged tie, as opposed to a two-legged tie under the usual format.

New rules introduced by UEFA in response to the Covid-19 situation means qualifiers will be played out over just one leg, meaning the Saints will have the home advantage, something Ruscoe feels could be important.

He believes the 3G pitch at Park Hall could play a part in making life more difficult for their visitors.

“It’s pleasing that we’re at home, that has given us the edge,” he said.

“We’re used to it here with the 3G, and sometimes our opposition will turn up and they won’t like it.

“It’s tough for them because they won’t be used to it, but with that being said, some teams come here and just get on with it.

“Let’s hope they’re not comfortable playing on it.

“We played FC Copenhagen on here last year, and they really didn’t enjoy playing on it.

“The difference this time is it is a one-legged game, so we have to make sure we do everything to win this tie.

“We’ve got to be in the right mindset and prepare to give it a good go and make the home advantage count.”

Saints face tough opposition with MŠK Žilina being the second most successful club in Slovakia.

The seven-time Slovak Super Liga winners also have history in European competitions, with a highlight being the 2010 UEFA Champions League group stage which saw them compete alongside Chelsea, Marseille and Spartak Moscow.

Ruscoe added: “We know they’re a good side and have got good pedigree – they’ve played in Europe on a number of occasions and have had some really good results, so we know it will be a task.

“Because we’re at home and it’s a one-off match, there are positives for us.

“When you’re in this competition and playing at this level, there is never going to be an easy game and there will always be some good teams to come up against.

“We played ŠK Slovan Bratislava a few years ago so we know the league is of good quality.

“I think MŠK Žilina are the toughest side of the three teams we could have drawn this year.

“We’ve got some good friendlies coming up and have played some already, so we have time to get ourselves ready for the match.”

And with no travelling fans to take Park Hall by storm and make some noise, Ruscoe believes there is more reason for the match to be a difficult one for their eastern European opponents.

He said: “We’ve played at the likes of Wrexham and Cardiff, and we’ve played here when there’s been 1,100 plus, and it does bring the atmosphere.

“But without that and without their travelling fans, again it might be something that works for us.”

Saints will host MŠK Žilina at Park Hall on Thursday, August 27.