Preview- Steaua (h)

Last updated : 05 August 2009 By Firparkcorner

The boss
The impressive Romanians are unlikely to crumble and it would seem that an inspired performance and a deal of good fortune will be needed if we are to make a contest. There was a universal acceptance following the first half of the tie that the visitors are a far better team both technically and physically and that the best we can hope for is to salvage some pride.

Jim Gannon has already seen us play five competitive games and he will by now have a fair idea of the qualities of his playing staff. We know that he wants to bring in a few more players but for the moment he is limited to the same squad as was available last week. Will he keep faith with the youngsters or will he give some of the more senior players a start?

He called on the services of Hammell before the first half was done in Bucharest when Forbes looked out of his depth. Saunders will still be having nightmares about the nutmeg which lead to the third goal. Lasley must wonder if he has a future at the club if he is not selected while the message to Smith and Fitzpatrick is clear given that they failed to make the bench.

The new No 1?
The shining star of the first leg was Ruddy. The big keeper not only saved a penalty but he had no hesitation in throwing himself down among the flying boots when required. His big frame looked confident in the air and if that debut is typical of his abilities than he will be first choice guardian.

Can we risk throwing caution to the wind and setting out with the idea of attacking at every opportunity? The danger is clear and players with the skill of Stancu and Ionescu will make us pay if we give them a chance.

Motherwell will hope that this will be the last 'home' game that has to be played in Airdrie and that a decent crowd will turn out both to cheer on the Lanarkshire team but also to see some quality opposition. Sadly, it is likely to be the end of this season's European adventure after a 1-0 defeat.