Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson under no illusions as key players miss Europa clash

David Scullion will miss Thursday's Europa League tie
David Scullion will miss Thursday's Europa League tie

Eddie Patterson believes Glentoran have it all to do in Thursday’s Europa League qualifier against MSK Zilina.

The Glens have a number of key personnel missing for the first qualifying round, first leg at The Oval (8pm kick-off).

Striker Curtis Allen and winger David Scullion are unavailable, while midfielder Niall Henderson is injured.

Patterson is also sweating on the fitness of a number of other players who are returning from injuries.

“Curtis, David and Niall are all big players for us, and they have bags of experience,” the Glentoran boss said.

“You need experience in European games. That’s a key ingredient if you want to try and progress.

“Zilina are a quality outfit who just finished their season a few weeks ago. They have been back in pre-season training already so they will be firing on all cylinders.

“The timing suits them, while for us we are only getting back to pre-season and players are not fully fit.

“But we have prepared professionally and we will give it our best shot. We provided a dossier to our players and they have done their homework.

“We know we will be up against it. When you look at the European ratings, Zilina are the best-ranked side out of all the teams playing against Irish League opposition.

“They narrowly lost 2-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a few years back, so that shows you their quality.

“They also like to play a 4-3-3 formation and go on the attack, so it could be a busy evening for us.”

Patterson will include new signings Kristian Gibson and Conor McMenamin in his squad for the game.

“Both will be included in the panel. They have settled in well since arriving at the club,” Patterson added.

“Conor is a similar player to Curtis. He is workmanlike and he will put in a shift against Zilina.

“That’s what we will need. This is a great opportunity for all the players and it is a game we are relishing.

“We would just prefer to have everyone available, and for the players to have had a few more weeks of training under their belts.

“I believe with a fully fit squad we could give Zilina a real go. As it is, we are going to be up against it.

“But we will certainly go out and give it our best shot. A lot of fans have booked flights for the away leg, so we want to make sure we have something to fight for when we travel to Slovakia.”