Gerard Lyttle under no illusions as Cliftonville prepare for Cypriot acid test

Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle is preparing for another European acid test
Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle is preparing for another European acid test

Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle is under no illusions ahead of Thursday evening’s Europa League acid test in Cyprus.

The Reds fell to a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Solitude in last week’s first leg – after having led 2-0 with 30 minutes remaining.

It was a harsh lesson for the Irish League representatives who now have it all to do ahead of this evening’s return leg at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium.

Lyttle has predicted another massive challenge for his players who will have to contend with some testing conditions in Cyprus.

“The temperatures will be very difficult and the conditions will be horrendous,” Lyttle said.

“We will have to be smart, because are expecting temperatures in the region of 33 degrees.

“We will have to preserve as much energy as we can, but we know how big a challenge this will be.

“We have it all to do after last week’s first leg in Belfast, but we will give it everything we have.

“I think we proved last week that we can match AEK.”

If Cliftonville can overturn the deficit from the first leg, they will face Russian side Spartak Moscow in the third qualifying round.

Meanwhile, Coleraine’s home Danske Bank Premiership game with Glentoran on Saturday, August 27 has been rescheduled to Friday night, August 26 (7.45pm).