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EUROPA LEAGUE PRELIMINARY ROUND PREVIEW: 4 JULY

Ballymena United and Cliftonville face a big night of Europa League action with both sides harbouring not unreasonable hopes of progressing to the First Qualifying Round.

The Sky Blues hold a two-goal advantage over Faroese opponents NSi Runavik after last week's first leg while the Reds are in deadlock with Barry Town United following a scoreless draw seven days ago.

Cliftonville v. Barry Town United (venue: Solitude; kick-off: 7:45pm)

Cliftonville welcome the Welsh visitors to Solitude hoping a lack of an away goal doesn't play a major part in the outcome of the tie.

Conor McMenamin and Rory Donnelly came close in Cardiff but a goal for Barry would leave the Reds needing to find their shooting boots and score twice.

Boss Paddy McLaughlin has yet to taste defeat at home since taking charge of the club so will be hoping that record continues as Cliftonville strive to secure a place in the next round against Norwegian side Haugesund.

But Barry manager, Gavin Chesterfield, is going into the game in confident mood. Speaking after the first leg he said, "We'd obviously have preferred to have won, but given the context of the game nil-nil is a far better result for us than it is for them."

NSi Runavik v. Ballymena United (venue: Svangaskarð Stadium, Toftir; kick-off 7pm)

David Jeffrey's side stand on the cusp of progressing in European competition for the first time in the history of the club.

Thanks to goals from Leroy Millar and Jude Winchester last week at The Showgrounds the Sky Blues take a healthy advantage to the Faroe Islands and with it a real possibility of landing a plum tie with Swedish giants Malmo FF.

However, Ballymena will need to be wary of their hosts who are well into their domestic season and are, thus far, unbeaten at home.

Indeed, it took two top drawer Ross Glendinning saves to deny Runavik in the first leg which suggests a threat up front which shouldn't be underestimated.

Tags:  Ballymena United  Cliftonville