- Wednesday August 8th, 2012 @ 19:38
Saints Look To Extend Euro Run
The Saints return to action on Thursday as they travel to the AWD-Arena to face German side Hannover 96 in the third qualifying round of the Europe League trailing 3-0 from the first leg.
Despite an early goal from 96's Leon Andreasson last week, the Saints displayed a spirited performance.
However further second half goals from German International Christian Pander and Ivory Coast international striker Ya Konan saw the German side run out winners.
The Saints have travelled to Hannover with the same squad as last week, meaning they remain without the services of long term absentee Mark Rossiter (knee), while Dean Kelly continues to recover from a groin injury.
Stephen O'Flynn, the crucial goalscorer of the away goal to ensure the Saints passage past the first qualifying round of the Europa League, remains out with a rib problem.
The Saints trip to Germany sees Liam Buckley return to a side he once had the opportunity to sign for as a player in the 1980's, however following a trial with Hannover 96 during his time at Shamrock Rovers, the move failed to materialise for the current Saints' manager.
Despite the three goal deficit, Liam Buckley told stpatsfc.com that the players were keen to put things right from last week's game and get a result for the fans travelling over to the game.
“Last week was disappointing as we played well for large parts of the game, but going 1-0 down so early was a real killer for us.”
“We got back in the game in the second half but then conceded two more that we felt we could've done better for. We know it is again going to be very tough against a side of such good players, but it's still a chance to go out and put things right from last week.
We'll be going out there to get a result for ourselves, the league and more importantly for our great fans who are travelling to Hannover in great numbers.”
The second leg gives Saints' striker Christy Fagan the opportunity again to equal all-time Saints' top-scorer in Europe Declan ‘Fabio' O'Brien on four goals.
The former Manchester United striker was recently named Airtricity/Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland award for July following his goalscoring feats against IBV Vestmannaeyjar (1) and Široki Brijeg (2), and the Saints' top-scorer for the 2012 season admitted that last week's defeat to Hannover was tough to take.
"I felt we performed okay but the three goals left us gutted. It's hard to think the tie is nearly over as we wanted to go over with a chance to frustrate them. Conceding three was a huge blow but we'll try and go over and win the tie."