Match Preview: Rovers face Bala Town tomorrow night

Sligo Rovers take on Bala Town tomorrow in the First Round (First Leg) Qualifying Round of The UEFA Europa Conference League. The game takes place in Oswestry, which is a small town on the England and Wales border and home of The New Saints FC.

Rovers qualified for the competition after a third place finish in 2021, the second consecutive season the club have reached this stage. There was disappointment last year with defeat to FH Hafnarfjordur of Iceland, losing 3-1 on aggregate.

Rovers come into the game undefeated since Manager John Russell took interim charge of the club with a victory over Derry City and a draw away to UCD before being appointed Manager a week later. Since then Rovers have beaten Finn Harps and Shelbourne with a draw away to Drogheda United in between.

On Saturday The Bit O’ Red won 3-1 at home to Shelbourne, showing a great reaction to falling a goal behind early in the game to come back and score three goals with two from Aidan Keena and one from strike partner Max Mata.

John Russell looks ahead to tomorrow’s game:

‘’We are expecting a difficult game tomorrow night against Bala Town. They have competed in Europe of the past few seasons and have an experienced group of players. We know the threat they bring so we need to be ready.

European nights are always special occasions and the players are fully focused and ready for the challenge ahead. We’re in good form so it’s important to bring that into the game tomorrow night. I believe our supporters will travel in big numbers so hopefully we can put on a performance they can be proud of’’.

In team news, Greg Bolger will have a late fitness test tomorrow after an injury picked up against Shelbourne on Saturday night. Garry Buckley returns to the squad having missed our previous two games with injury.

Our opponents finished second in The Welsh Premier Division in their 2021/22 season and come into the game after a series of pre-season friendlies, most notably against Welsh Rivals TNS and Northern Irish team Cliftonville.

The club have made some new additions and will prove a tough test for Rovers who will be followed by around 450 supporters at Park Hall Stadium on Thursday night.

Supporters have travelled to Oswestry by bus, plane, trains, cars and ferrys and it is sure to be a wonderful occasion as we look forward to the return of supporters on a European away night for the first time since 2014.

The game will be streamed live at the following link

Ocean FM will provide commentary from Park Hall on the night and there will be viewings in many of our local bars in Sligo.