JASON McGUINNESS hopes that his Sligo Rovers side can restore some pride in the domestic game after some disappointing results in European football this season.
Following on from the exit of his first senior club, Bohemians, at the hands of a second-division Icelandic club earlier this month, McGuinness' other old club (Shamrock Rovers) also exited Europe at the first hurdle, losing to Lithuanian side Ekranas on Tuesday, so the big Dubliner is hopeful that his current employers can deliver when they take on Slovak side Spartak Trnava tonight, Sligo hoping to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the away leg.
"The image of the league has taken a bit of a hammering with some of the results in Europe this season, especially Rovers losing in Lithuania the other night," McGuinness (below) told the Evening Herald.
"The league has taken a few hits and there's a fair bit of negativity around, people saying that Rovers and Bohs both lost in ties that they should have won, and I don't like to see the league being knocked.
"So if we can get a result tonight, and hopefully Pats can do the same against their opponents, then it will do a lot of good for the image of the league.
"We're all rivals in this league but when it comes to Europe we are all in it together and I really hope that Pats can get through this stage and join us in the next round."
It's a big ask for Sligo. Their defensive record recently has been poor, as they are five games without a clean sheet.
History is also against them as Rovers have only ever managed one win at home in Europe and only once in their 35-year history in Europe have they managed to score more than once in a home game, Rovers of course needing two goals tonight.
"I think it can be done as we have nothing to fear," says McGuinness. "I have played a few games in Europe and, with no disrespect to Spartak Trnava, I have played against better teams than them.
"We gave them a great start by conceding three sloppy goals early on in the away leg but we showed in the second half that we can get at them when we scored a goal.
"We have players like Joseph Ndo, Pascal Milien and Mark Quigley in the side and they are great at opening up defences. It will be a tough night as Spartak can come here with that 3-1 lead and sit back and defend.
"But we are used to that, clubs do that all the time. They come to the Showgrounds and pack men behind the ball and try to frustrate us, so we have our work cut out.
"But I have seen enough to know that we can get something," added the defender.