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Monday 14 October 2019

Bradley insists Hoops still have to finish job

Warning: Stephen Bradley
Warning: Stephen Bradley

They haven't quite booked their flight to Cyprus for the next round, but some Shamrock Rovers supporters will hope that having two away goals in the bank can seal progress past SK Brann and into round two of the Europa League.

But manager Stephen Bradley says it's "nonsense" to even think that this is a done deal for his side, the Hoops boss predicting a strong response from the Norwegian visitors to Tallaght Stadium.

With Apollon Limassol likely to come through the second leg of their tie against Lithuanian outfit Kauno Zalgiris, the winners of the Rovers/Brann game have an idea where they will be going. Rovers came away from Norway with a 2-2 draw last week, Roberto Lopes their hero, but in what is his third campaign in Europe as manager, Bradley admits to being nervous.

"If anyone is thinking that, it's nonsense," he said when asked if the away goals had put his side closer to progress.

"We are playing against a top team here who are really, really dangerous. They have some really good attacking players, we saw that over there.

"I don't know who is thinking or talking like that but it's definitely not in this group, this dressing room.

"We know what we are up against tonight, it will be a really tough game and we are under no illusions over what we have to do, it's half time and that's all, we saw over there they are a good side going forward and they will be no different in this game."

Bradley admits that his side began well in Bergen last week but surrendered possession too cheaply, a lesson they need to heed.

Rash

"We made some rash decisions in and out of possession and gave up too much territory. We allowed them to come into the game a lot more," he says.

"It doesn't matter what they do, how they play or set up or approach the game doesn't affect us, we have watched them so we know how they play and they are a dangerous side.

"As I said before the first leg, we believe we can win the tie and that doesn't change. We know they are a good side and it will be difficult, but so are we and we can win the tie."

Aaron McEneff is back in the squad to boost Bradley's options, leaving Neil Farrugia as the only absentee.

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