THE TURKISH media have written off Derry City’s chances of achieving a favourable result on Thursday night but ‘Candy Stripes’ manager, Declan Devine believes the heavy burden of expectation on Trabzonspor could work in the Brandywell club’s favour. (Kick-off 7.30 p.m.)
Devine will make the arduous 13 hour journey to Trabzon this morning with his 18 man squad, while the Turkish club prepare for Thursday’s Europa League second qualifying round clash in an high altitude training base in the Swiss Alps.
The ‘Candy Stripes’ will be huge underdogs given the vast experience of the Turkish outfit, not to mention the soaring temperatures and the expected 26,000 strong fanatical support at the Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium.
Devine recognises his team face a ‘mammoth task’ however, he expects the Turkish club to underestimate the standard of League of Ireland football. Trabzonspor have yet to play a competitive game this season and Devine is hoping to catch them off-guard and return to Brandywell with the tie still in the balance on Thursday, August 25th.
“There’s no expectation on us out there,” said Devine last night. “Trabzonspor have publicly stated that we are not good enough to get a result.
“They have looked down their noses at us and believe it will be easy for them. So that’s fine with us.
“We’re quite happy to go into the game with no expectations to get a result but we’ll try our best.
“It’s an advantage to us the fact they haven’t played any competitive football this season. But when you see that their last four or five signings have all been over £5 million it shows you the standards we’re up against.
“We have to be aware that it is a giant step up in class but we are really looking forward to the experience.
“There’s no pressure on us,” he added. “We’re certainly not expected to get anything from the game but the players are quietly focussed and would love to keep the tie alive and bring them back to the Brandywell.”
The Derry boss has studied DVDs of Trabzonspor and their fanatical fanbase this week and he feels his team are well prepared for what he expects to be an unforgettable experience.
“These chances don’t present themselves to players in our country too often.
“You normally have to go through two or three qualifying games before you play a club of this magnitude, so it’s something we have to look forward to.
“We have to be tactically aware and we can’t afford to go gung-ho because they are a top European side and can punish you.
“We must make sure we don’t leave ourselves open to quality players hurting us at every opportunity.
“We’re going out here in 42 degrees heat and the humidity at night is the same as it is during the day so that’s another aspect of the game.
“We have to conserve our energy and make sure we’re disciplined in our play. We have to be respectful and be prepared for the conditions, the atmosphere and the opposition.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen too many times in your career. We have so many young players and they have to enjoy it, take it in their stride ad feed off it.
“If they do that then they gave themselves a slightly better chance,” he concluded.