Coleraine's Aaron Traynor in action last season against FK Haugesund in the Europa League (c) Presseye

EUROPA LEAGUE PREVIEW: SPARTAK SUBOTICA v COLERAINE

Coleraine are in Serbia to face FK Spartak Subotica tonight (Thursday) in the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round (kick-off 7.45pm)

The Serbians finished fourth in the Serbian Super Liga last year and are well into preparations for the new season due to start at the end of July.

Subotica is a city in north Serbia close to the Hungarian border. FK Spartak play their home games in the city’s 13,000 capacity Gradski Stadion. However, tomorrow nights game will take place in the Karadjordje Stadion, 65 miles south in the city of Novi Sad.

Known as ‘The Falcons’, FK Spartak have played in Novi Sad previously during their first and only European experience. In the 2010/11 season they entered the second qualifying round where they knocked out FC Differdange 03 from Luxembourg 5-3 on aggregate, before falling short in the third qualifying round losing out to Ukrainian side FC Dnipro 3-2 on aggregate.

Coleraine enter the first qualifying round for the second year in a row after finishing Danske Bank Premiership runners-up and Irish Cup winners last season. Last year they faced Norwegian side FK Haugesund losing 7-0 over two legs, despite a commendable 0-0 draw in the home second leg tie.

Despite losing Martin Smith (Swindon) and Stephen Dooley (Rochdale) Coleraine have added to their squad with centre back Graham Crown joining from Limavady and midfielder Steven Lowry returning to the club from Linfield. They enter the game on the back of two pre-season friendlies, a 1-0 defeat to Glenavon and a 2-0 win over Derry City.

The Bannsiders will be without manager Oran Kearney and assistant boss William Murphy, with the team being taken by coach Trevor McKendry, John Gregg and Paul Owens.

Kick-off tomorrow night in Novi Sad is set for 7.45pm while the return leg will take place at the Coleraine Showgrounds next Thursday (19th July) also with a 7.45pm kick-off.

Coleraine or FC Spartak Subotica will face Czech club Sparta Prague in qualifying round two.

Tags:  Coleraine