Linfield midfielder Jamie Mulgrew hoping to cause Europa League upset against AIK Solna

Linfield defeated B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands in the first qualifying round
Linfield defeated B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands in the first qualifying round

Jamie Mulgrew hopes that Linfield can cause a huge upset against AIK Solna in the Europa League.

The midfielder scored in the Windsor Park side’s first leg win over Faroe Islands outfit B36, with the Blues progressing to the next round courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate victory.

They now face a daunting test on Thursday night against a full-time Swedish side who possess players with World Cup experience in their ranks.

Although Mulgrew admits that the task ahead will be very tough, he says Linfield will be looking to take confidence from their spirited performances against Europe’s big seeds in recent years.

“We were expected to get through the first round and while it was tight, we were able to get the result and progress,” he said.

“The odds are now stacked massively against us but last year against Skoda Xanthi showed that anything can happen.

“Obviously, Solna are massive favourites but we’ll go in with a game plan.

“We’ll be up against it as they are a top quality side but football is a strange old game and that’s why we love it. We can always dream of progressing.”

AIK Solna are currently mid-way through their campaign chasing Sweden’s Allsvenskan and possess a World Cup star among their ranks.

Celso Borges successfully converted penalties against Greece and Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup knockout stages and has since returned to the Stockholm club. “It shows the massive task that we have ahead of us with players of that calibre playing for Solna,” said Mulgrew.

“Their players are a class above any of us but we can go into this game with no pressure and with nothing to lose.

“It will be a great test and a great experience for ourselves and playing against high calibre players is something I look forward to personally.

“The odds are stacked against us but we’re on the back of two good games, so fingers crossed we’ll be able to do the club proud.”