Saturday, 29 June 2013

Caton calls on experienced campaigners to lead club in to Europe

Bala Town manager Colin Caton labelled his side’s European debut this week as “phenomenal”, and has called on experienced footballers like Kenny Lunt to lead the squad in to the unknown.

The Lakesiders have been drawn to play Estonian club FC Levadia Talinn in the Europa League first qualifying round, playing the home leg at Rhyl’s Belle Vue Stadium on Tuesday and the return fixture in Talinn on July 11.

Their qualification for Europe came on the back of a stunning 13-match winning streak that culminated with a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Port Talbot Town in the Europa League Play-off final.

Caton said: “Many players will be playing in Europe for the first time, and Kenny has said playing in Europe will be a career highlight for him despite playing more than 500 games in the Football League. We will rely on him massively – his composure, his ability and his experience.

“But we do have other lads with European experience who won’t be fazed by it.”

Despite the short break since that famous win at the GenQuip Stadium in May, Caton believes his squad are in “great” shape going in to Europe, adding: “They are looking sharp, the fitness levels are great for this time of year and the lads have trained hard and are looking forward to it. To be in the Europa League is phenomenal because we’ve only been in the WPL for four years.”

While their Estonian foes may not be household names in this country, Caton says his side are well prepared to face them. He continued: “We know quite a bit about them as people are helping us out with scouting, which is great. We have DVDs arriving including individual run-downs.

“We were unsure of the smaller teams in the draw and wanted either a big name or an easy tie. If we can do well at home we might have a chance going in to the second game.

“We have to give the players a structure and shape and they have to be patient and stick to it. We don’t want to be out of it by half-time.”

They are not the only debutants. Airbus UK Broughton and Prestatyn Town will also make their first tentative steps in to mainland Europe this week.

Airbus, the surprise package of last season who edged Welsh Premier titans Bangor City in to third place, face tough opposition in Latvia’s FK Ventspils whom their management team travelled to watch this week in preparation, while Prestatyn also face a Latvian club in FK Liepajas Metalurgs – the side Ventspils were playing during the spying mission.

Airbus will play their home tie at Wrexham’s Racecourse ground on Thursday, while Prestatyn will also play at Rhyl on Thursday.


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