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Coleraine embark on another European campaign on Thursday when they take part in the Europa League

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BT Coleraine

Coleraine embark on another European campaign on Thursday when they take part in the Europa League.

All this week, Michael Anderson previews the clash with San Marino side La Fiorita.

The countdown is now on to Thursday’s eagerly awaited Europa League showdown between Coleraine and La Fiorita (kick off 7.30pm).

A trip to Slovenian outfit Maribor awaits the winners… and a potential £200,000 Euro jackpot!

So what do we know of the Bannsiders’ opponents and what are their chances of progressing?

Fiorita only formed in 1967 and have been league champions five times, finishing runners up on four occasions.

Since 2012/13, the Sammarinese side has qualified for Europe every season, competing in both the Europa League and Champions League.

To date they have managed only one draw… and that came against Irish League opposition when they played Linfield in 2017.

The management team at Coleraine has been busy behind the scenes preparing for this crunch clash.

“We were able to obtain footage of them from before lockdown,” explained assistant manager Trevor McKendry.
“Obviously things will have changed with the layoff and there will be rustiness as we saw with ourselves.

“You just don’t know how they will come back after the long break.

“Technically they are decent enough but if we look after ourselves I believe they are certainly beatable.”
Coleraine warmed up for the game with a 3 0 victory over Irish Cup winners Glentoran at the Oval on Thursday night.

Curtis Allen (2) and Eoin Bradley scored the goals in a morale-boosting warm up.

And although all focus will be on what happens on the pitch, McKendry is well aware of exactly what victory would mean to the club financially.

“The European money is becoming a massive part of our game,” added Trevor.

“One win virtually doubles your money.

“It gives you the leeway to sign players, maintain squads, offer longer contracts.”

But all focus, insists Trevor, will be on the pitch when the whistle blows.

“If we concentrate completely on playing, which we will, then the rest takes care of itself.

“It is a real feather in the cap for players to take part in Europe and everyone is looking forward to it.

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About author
Coleraine man, married to Tracy. Former Chronicle Sports Editor and writer for the old Saturday Night sports paper and Belfast Telegraph/Sunday Life. Has travelled and reported on Coleraine FC on several of their European ties over the years.
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