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PAOK boss reveals love for ‘Big Cas’ with Irish in town

HE WON’T be smiling if the visitors from Ireland come away from Thessaloniki with points tonight, but PAOK’s Romanian-born coach, Laszlo Boloni, has fond memories of the Irish.

Ah Tony, what is (he) doing now?” Boloni responded with a beaming smile when the Evening Herald asked him of his memories of Tony Cascarino – Big Cas played under Boloni at Nancy in the French league.

“He was a fantastic guy. I had three or four years with him, he played for the national team for a lot of the time and he was a very, very good striker. When people ask me who were the best players I worked with, he was one of them.”

On a more serious note, the veteran PAOK coach knows that dropping points here would be unacceptable to the locals.

“I have seen Shamrock Rovers and they are a good side, they have played the two strongest teams in the group. I saw a team with a lot of enthusiasm and a physical presence with good pressure,” he said.

“They have a chance to take one or two points in the group. I hope they don’t take points here tonight as we’ll try and do what we need to win the game.”

PAOK have some injury worries ahead of this game and it’s thought that Uruguayan star Pablo Garcia – an ex-Real Madrid man – will not be fit.

They still have a multi-talented squad with internationals such as Miroslaw Sznaucner (Poland), Vladimir Ivic (Serbia), Costin Lazar (Romania) and Greek hero Dimitris Salpingidis.

PAOK (probable): Chalkias; Sznaucner, Cirillo, Malezas, Lino; Arias, Lazar, Ivic; Salpingidis, Athanasiadis, Vierinha.