DAVID Jeffrey is under no illusions as Linfield head into this evening’s Champions League clash with AEL Limassol.
The Blues are massive 20/1 underdogs to come away with victory from this second qualifying round, first leg tie.
Soaring temperatures in Cyprus have only heightened the task facing the Irish League champions.
Linfield edged past Faroese minnows B36 Torshavn in the previous round to keep their European adventure alive and kicking this summer.
If they want to continue that journey they will have to cause a hefty upset against a Limassol side who have been installed at 1/8 to win this evening.
“I firmly believe this game is up there with BATE, Rosenborg and Dinamo Zagreb in terms of difficulty and the quality of the opposition,” Jeffrey said of Linfield’s previous European outings.
“It is a massive challenge for us, and with the conditions it only goes to heighten that test.
“The players were perspiring in their rooms until they got the air conditioning fully going.
“I don’t want to over dramatise the conditions by talking about the heat but it is not going to be conducive to us playing on Wednesday night.
“We’ve had to adapt and change our programme pretty drastically to take allowance of the heat.
“And if anyone thinks that Cyprus at this time of year is a lovely trip, I want to emphasise that it’ll be hard work for the players in these extremely warm conditions.
“The hotel and the food are certainly excellent but don’t anyone be thinking the players will be lying about or out enjoying themselves.
“They are incredibly focused on a very difficult assignment ahead.
“The heat is so energy sapping and the players really need to conserve as much energy as possible.
“There’ll be quite a few rest periods for the players after training sessions to make sure they have as much energy as possible on Wednesday evening.”
Midfielder Jamie Mulgrew - who captained Linfield in the absence of Michael Gault and Alan Blayney against Torshavn - insists there is belief in the squad ahead of tonight’s game.
“There is a belief among the lads that we can come away with a decent result,” he told the club’s official website.
“The level that they’re playing at and we’re playing at, is a long way apart.
“ But as long as we’re organised and have the right attitude and we all do the jobs that we’re asked to do, we believe we can come away with a good result.
“We’ll all have to be on top of our game and fulfill our duties for the full 90 minutes and if we do that, you never know in this game what can happen on the night.
“We will give it everything and hopefully get something from the game.
“But it is really warm here and in these conditions it will be difficult for the players.
“But we are here to do a job and we are up for the challenge.”