ANTO FLOOD says he can't believe his luck after swapping a struggle in England's fourth tier for a tilt at a Bundesliga side in the Europa League.
The big Dubliner returned to St Patrick's Athletic for a second spell earlier this summer after an unhappy spell in England with Southend United. 'Bisto' joined Southend from Bohemians in January but he managed only one appearance before quitting the club in May and, following talks with a number of League of Ireland sides, opted to return to Richmond Park.
He played a part in Thurday's thrilling 2-1 win over Siroki Brijeg which teed up a clash with Hannover in the third qualifying round and Flood says he's delighted to be on the European stage after his English struggles.
"It was some experience the other night, our fans are amazing and I am so happy to be back in Ireland and back at Pat's," Flood told the Herald.
"We have Hannover at home in the first leg next week and that should be some night. It's a pity that it's in Tallaght Stadium and not at Richmond Park as there's a brilliant atmosphere at Richer, especially on the European nights, but I think we can give a good account of ourselves.
"For me it's great to be playing again after a tough few months. When I went to England in January I certainly didn't see myself being back in the League of Ireland by July. I had always wanted to try my luck in England and I was determined to make it work," added Flood, who also had a spell in Sweden with a top-flight side.
"Southend didn't work out for me, it was the Chief Executive who signed me and not the manager so my face didn't fit with the manager and I left after a few months.
"Liam Buckley got on to me about coming to Pat's and I knew it was the right thing to do.
"I'm still working on my fitness. I'm really in pre-season mode still but I am happy to play a part for the team, and it's hard to get into the team ahead of Christy Fagan anyway, he's playing so well at the moment. It's great to see the boys from the north inner city doing well," joked Flood, who also had spells with Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne, Dundalk, Athlone Town, Galway United and Bohemians.
After a busy period, which saw them try to maintain a title challenge as well as making European trips to Iceland and Bosnia, Pat's enjoy a well-earned weekend off as their proposed league game this Sunday was called off to help them prepare for the Euro game ahead, and now they get ready for the German task.
"It's a big challenge, playing a Bundesliga team, but I know that every player in that dressing room is looking forward to it. This is what you are in football for," added Flood.