Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton in action during their last Europa League outing (c) Presseye
Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde are the visitors to Mourneview Park tonight (Wednesday) for Glenavon’s UEFA Europa League first qualifying round tie.
The three time Norweigan Eliteserien winners qualified for the UEFA Europa League this season after finishing second behind Rosenborg in the 2017 championship.
This is the first time in three seasons Molde have qualified for European competition, their last Europa League campaign in 2015/16 was hugely successful with wins over Standard Liege, Fenerbahce, Celtic and Sevilla, before exiting to the latter in the Round of 32 in what was the club’s furthest progression in Europe.
To date this season, Molde find themselves in third place in the Norwegian top flight (which runs in a summer season), six points behind leaders Brann and four behind Rosenborg. Solskjaer’s men come into the game in good form with three consecutive wins including a 5-1 home win over Valerenga on Sunday.
One of their players in the headlines in recent weeks is teenager Erling Haaland, son of former Norway international Alfe-Inge Haaland. The 17-year-old is reportedly attracting the interest of Manchester United with eight goals in 14 appearances to date this season.
Gary Hamilton takes his Glenavon side into the Europa League for the fourth time in five years, having finished third in the Danske Bank Premiership last season. The Lurgan Blues have failed to make it past the First Qualifying Round in Hamilton’s previous attempts, losing to FH (Iceland), Shakhtyor Soligorsk (Belarus) and KR Reykjavik (Iceland) in recent years.
The home side will be without Andrew Mitchell, James Singleton and Sammy Clingan, but new signings Stephen Donnelly, Conor McCloskey, Gary Muir and Niall Grace could make their competitive debuts for the club.
Kick-off at Mourneview Park on Wednesday is at 19:45 BST and the return leg in Norway will take place on 18 July.
Glenavon or Molde will take on Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus or Laci of Albania in qualifying round two.
The match is not all ticket. Admission is by payment at the turnstile with admission charges set at £15 Adult and £10 Concession. Primary school children will also be admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult.