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The Non-League Football Paper

Four Welsh clubs discover their opponents in European competition

Pic: Brian Jones

ALL four Welsh clubs that qualified for Europe have learned their fate – with champions The New Saints facing a trip to Gibraltar.

TNS, who broke Ajax’s record of 26 straight victories on their way to a sixth-straight Welsh Premier title, will take on Europa FC in the Champions League first qualifying round.

The Saints, who beat San Marino’s Tre Penne at that stage last season, will host the first leg at Park Hall on June 27/28 before heading to Gibraltar on July 4/5.

If they are successful, they will take on Croatian outfit Rijeka in the second round. Club legend Scott Ruscoe will be hoping for a positive first European campaign after he took over as interim manager following the departure of Craig Harrison to National League side Hartlepool United.

In the Europa League, meanwhile, Connah’s Quay, Bala Town and Bangor City all discovered their first round qualifying opponents.

Connah’s Quay, who shocked Norwegian side Stabæk last term, face a very tough test after being paired with HJK Helsinki, who currently lead the Finnish Premier Division.

Welsh Cup winners Bala Town face a trip to Liechtenstein where they will take on FC Vaduz. As Liechtenstein has no league of its own, Vaduz play in the Swiss system and were relegated from the top division last term but qualify for Europe through the Liechtenstein Cup.

The final Welsh entrant, Bangor City, have a new manager in ex-Cardiff, Exeter, Derby County and Stoke coach Kevin Nicholson and he will take them to Denmark to face Lyngby BK.

Lyngby, who finished third in the Danish Superliga last season, are managed by former Grimsby, Wimbledon and Norwich forward David Nielsen.

Bala and Connah’s Quay will host the first legs scheduled for June 29, while Bangor will be on the road. The return legs are pencilled in for July 6.

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