Steaua Bucharest preview

Last updated : 28 July 2009 By Firparkcorner
The match against Llanelli turned out to be harder than expected and the Flamurtari contest still remains bizarre. Were they really that bad? Or were we that good? Probably a bit of both but even if we hit top form it is hard to see Steaua disintegrating in a similar fashion. They have a wealth of European experience and a budget which will be a lot bigger than ours. Nonetheless, this could be a good time to play them.

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While they may be former European Cup winners, a decent number of our squad will not even have been born when that triumph took place. As depressing a thought as that is for some of our older fans, it should ensure no one is over-awed when the game starts on Thursday. Furthermore, they are coming off a poor season and while improvement looks likely this term they will be missing a couple of players and, like us, will not be in full flow having played so few competitive matches.

We will have more players available to choose from but while it was previously a bold move to pick the youngsters, it would now arguably be a bold move to drop them. Slane and Forbes are surely certain to start and it is probably O'Brien will move up the wing to replace Humphrey and allow a real defender - Page? - in at right back. Craigain will also start in the defence but the Reynolds/Hammell/Hutchieson queston will be giving Jim Gannon some thought.

Also worth serious consideration is Michael Fraser. While he has not been brilliant so far he has at least gained experience playing with our current defence and should be sharper than new signing John Ruddy. Gannon seems like a manager who trusts his instincts and we will hope he gets this crucial call right.

The target for the game has to be ensuring that we have a chance in the second leg and that the tie is not over by then.  A 0-0 would seem the best we can hope for but if we can score, we will keep our heads above water.  There will be positives and negatives to take from a 3-1 defeat.