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Brush Fire

RICHARD BRUSH has vowed to frustrate 20,000 Greeks in Thessalonika tonight and help Shamrock Rovers keep their first clean sheet of the Europa League.

The Hoops have leaked six goals in their opening two games in the competition's group stage and they face a very stiff task against a PAOK side who are unbeaten in their last seven European matches and who hope to have a crowd of at least 20,000 here in Thessalonika tonight.

Rovers can clinch a second consecutive Airtricity League title and €100,000 in prize-money on Monday with victory over UCD and can boost the club coffers further tonight with €70,000 on offer for a draw and €140,000 for a victory.

But Rovers' English-born keeper Brush is confident that he can frustrate PAOK's fancied players like Dimitris Salpingidis, the Greek international star who has scored 25 goals in European games alone.

"A clean sheet is the aim, that has to be the aim," Brush told the Herald ahead of tonight's tie in Thessalonika. "People may say that's unrealistic heading to Greece to play a top side but I think we have a chance.

"Sometimes you ride your luck, as we did against Derry last week, and come out on top, so hopefully that bit of luck stays with us. Hard work and a bit of luck should see us through," added Brush.

Travel problems related to a general strike here mean that Rovers will have only 100 fans in the ground, up against a club whose support is rated as one of the most passionate in this region.