Having arranged the Champions League first qualifying round with relative solace after a 3-0 total win over Hibernians of Malta, the following stage for Shamrock Rovers is an intense undertaking against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets.
This evening, live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player, the Hoops are away in the city of Razgrad, where they will expect to keep themselves in the tie in front of the following week’s second leg at Tallaght Stadium.
An expected tie against Croatia’s predominant record champions Dinamo Zagreb or North Macedonian outfit Shkupi anticipates the victors.
In any case, Stephen Bradley and his side will not be feeling that a long way ahead yet, given Ludogorets’ Champions League family and quality, as ex-St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne midfielder Conan Byrne illustrated on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast.
Keith Treacy and Conan Byrne joined Raf Diallo and Rob Wright this week to talk about Ireland players progressing, European games for Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers and St Pat’s and the Women’s Euro 2022 knockout stage.
“They’ve begun back their league crusade as of late over the most recent few weeks and moved off to a 3-0 away win and a 2-0 home win,” he said of the Bulgarian side who have come out on top for the keep going 11 league championships on the jog as well as frequently arriving at the gathering phases of the Champions League or Europa League during that range.
“They score a ton of objectives, and they don’t surrender many, so that will be a fascinating situation now for Shamrock Rovers coming into the game.
“They’ll be watching the Cypriot worldwide Pieros Sotiriou, a magnificent goalscorer with 17 objectives in 20 beginnings last season.
“He’ll be their primary man up top that they’ll need to take a gander at incredibly, intently.”
Byrne likewise highlighted “dangermen” like Argentinian forward Matías Tissera and Brazilian midfielder Alex Santana who is “a great objective scoring midfielder” in a crew loaded with full internationals.
Regarding the encouraging points to expand on for Shamrock Rovers, he featured Rory Gaffney’s readiness to extend safeguards and Dylan Watts’ style of play which suits European games.
Moreover, he feels Roberto Lopes will be “critical” in marshalling the back three, with security before them liable to be given by Gary O’Neil and Chris McCann in a fundamentally “smaller” structure away from home in extreme intensity.
“I wouldn’t manage Shamrock Rovers out of this game,” he said.
“They’ll need to watch out for the peril players; however, in wide regions, that is how Shamrock Rovers play, they can be extremely successful.
“What’s more, clearly with Jack Byrne back, I believe that is gigantic in addition to.”
Jack Byrne got back from injury and was highlighted as a substitute in the second leg against Hibernians last week, and ex-Ireland midfielder Keith Treacy feels the characteristics the four-time Irish senior cap can bring into the midfield will help the Hoops’ objective.
“He simply plays in them openings constantly, and each player knows while you will attempt to press the ball and you know there’s someone behind you continually making points off you, it makes your occupation such a great deal harder because you don’t have the foggiest idea where you can apply the strain,” he said.
“Be that as it may, I would repeat what Conan says. Ludogorets are top choices, and I don’t figure you can move away from that, particularly north of two legs; however, I wouldn’t be bound and determined against Rovers not getting anything. I think they get an opportunity.”
Watch Ludogorets v Shamrock Rovers in the Champions League second qualifying round live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Tuesday, starting at 6.45 pm. Follow the live blog on the RTÉ News application and rte.ie/sport.