Anthony Limbrick urges his Saints to join the ‘wall of fame’

The New Saints head coach Anthony Limbrick wants his players to create new European memories to add to the club’s ‘wall of fame’ as the Uefa Europa Conference League kicks off tonight.

Anthony Limbrick
Anthony Limbrick

Australian boss Limbrick, 38, admits his staff and squad are inspired by images of the club’s European success of days gone by on a daily basis when training at Park Hall in Oswestry.

Cymru Premier side Saints travelled to Belfast yesterday ahead of tonight’s first leg against fellow full-time outfit Glentoran, who finished third in a tight and competitive Northern Ireland Premiership last term.

The Saints have enjoyed big European nights against Anderlecht, Copenhagen and Liverpool. Pictures of some of their exploits on the continent are plastered all over the club’s home – and it’s given Limbrick the taste for more.

He said: “Playing in Europe is a very big motivating factor for the players and for us. For myself, personally, to compete here and to coach a team into Europe, it’s a huge pull for me and I’m very excited for it.

“Every day when we come into work, there’s club photos, old pictures of European experiences when they played Liverpool and Man City and other big games at different grounds.

“It really reminds you every day when you walk in, the players go past that area of the stadium every day, and so do we as staff. We want to make more memories here and get more photos up on that wall, and this is a good start in what is going to be a really tough game.

“It’s exciting, you want to play against those big sides with different styles and places.”

TNS are making their debut in European football’s newest tournament, launched this season.

Should they get through over two legs – the second leg at Park Hall is next Thursday – they will advance to the second qualifying round.

The play-off round stage, which precedes the group stage, includes Tottenham and Roma, among others, and follows the third qualifying round.

In line with new UEFA rules for this season, the away goal rule has been scrapped.

For now, Limbrick is only concerned with tonight’s Northern Irish hosts and feels Glentoran are a tough draw for his troops.

The ex-Grimsby assistant and former Woking chief added: “It’s tough. Having done our research, they are a good side with a really lively front three and a bit of Football League experience.

“They have a really good striker in Robbie McDaid, who has been linked with a lot of clubs, two (Donnelly) brothers who are lively in attacking areas, (Luke) McCullough, who was at Tranmere, and Dale Gorman, who was at Newport, they are a hard team to beat.

“Every time I’ve taken teams there, even junior teams, the crowd are on top of you and up for it.”

Centre-half Blaine Hudson, meanwhile, is a doubt for tonight’s first leg with a knock, while young full-back Josh Bailey, from Telford, is also missing with injury.

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