TNS boss Scott Ruscoe aiming to keep tie alive
Scott Ruscoe has stressed the importance of The New Saints still being in the tie come next week’s second leg as they get ready to face Ludogorets Razgrad in the Europa League in Bulgaria tonight.
The Oswestry-based Saints find themselves in the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League last week following a 3-0 aggregate defeat against Danish giants FC Copenhagen.
They are now preparing for their fifth and sixth European ties of the season, with the return leg to be played at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground next Thursday.
Manager Ruscoe has done his homework on Ludogorets, a side crowned champions of Bulgaria for the eighth successive time last season when they finished five points clear of CSKA Sofia.
He said: “We’ve looked at their games. They change their team about for league games and European games.
“They went out (of the Champions League) to Ferencvaros, the Hungarian champions. They were unfortunate on the night at home.
“They missed a penalty and I think they played as equally well as Ferencvaros. They might feel a little bit hard done by.
“They’re going to think they’re big favourites for the game and obviously going out there, we’ll have a look at what they’ve got to offer and make sure that we stay in the game and we’re in a position where we can bring them back and play at Wrexham and still have a chance to go through.”
Aware of the threats Ludogorets pose, Ruscoe added: “We’ve seen them play and they’re a good side. They play football, they’re energetic, they create chances.
“They don’t play long ball. I wouldn’t say they’re not physical, but they don’t play the physical route one game.
“They like to be a possession-based team and make others work for it and then create the openings.
“We’ve seen good footage of them and we’re well aware of their capabilities.”
Ruscoe has a fully-fit squad as the Saints aim to continue to be good travellers in Europe.
“We won in Kosovo 1-0 and only lost to Copenhagen 1-0,” said Ruscoe, referring to his side’s two previous away games in their current European campaign.
“In previous seasons we’ve gone and played the Gibraltan champions Europa and beat them, drew with Red Imps, lost to Rijeka only 2-0 away, so we’ve done OK in the past two or three seasons.
“Every year that tends to go by, you want to make improvements, even if they’re only small improvements, so that the boys are getting more comfortable with European competition.”