| 15.3°C Dublin

Bohs Hungary for success despite lack of Euro experience

Europa League: FC Fehervar v Bohemians (5.30)


Dan Casey

Dan Casey

Dan Casey

The longest-ever break away from the European stage in their 50 years of competing in Europe will at last come to an end for Bohemians in Hungary tonight.

And the club are adamant that, despite the challenge of trying to outwit a Hungarian side dotted with senior internationals who have home advantage and are favourites to advance, Bohs won't let their lack of European experience hold them back.

Previously, their longest spell without competing in Europe was five years but it's now eight years since they last entered a UEFA competition, a run that Keith Long's side are happy to break with tonight's test away to Fehérvár in Hungary, a tinge of disappointment that a new generation of fans are denied a trip to the game as it's behind closed doors.

"The club went through a tough few years but the Bohs fans have built the club back up to what it is now and it's very frustrating that they can't be in Hungary tonight. But hopefully we can get through and give them another round to look forward to," says defender Dan Casey.

Only four members of the Bohs squad have played in Europe before, Casey part of a Cork City side ousted by Luxembourg opposition last year despite an away win for the Irish club.

And while the name of Fehérvár does not carry the same weight as the once-mighty Honved, they have some serious talent in their squad, 14 senior internationals drawn from the squads of Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Bosnia, Serbia and North Macedonia.

"We're not used to this level of competition as only a handful of us have played in Europe, but we have to cope with all of that, treat it like a normal game and not over-hype it," says Casey.

"We're confident and playing well so even though it's a challenge, the fact that we've not played much European football before isn't an issue."

The Dubliner was at Cork City last year, when they lost 2-0 at home to Luxembourg side Progres Niedercorn in the first leg and went out, despite winning the away leg 2-1, thus missing out on a clash with Rangers in the next round.

"It was tough," he says. "I tried to treat Europe as a normal game, if you think otherwise you can get into trouble. We made mistakes at home in that tie. You need to be clinical in Europe, not give teams anything at the back and take your chances when they come your way.

"In the league you know your opponents inside out, but Europe is another level. We'll listen to Keith [Long] and Trevor [Croly] and have our game plan. It's going to be tough, a different style of play, in a different country, but we'll be prepared and we'll give it our all. Being away from home makes it tough, even tougher as there are no fans allowed and we'd have brought a big away support."

Long has done his homework and has come away impressed with the opposition. "These are a good side," he says.

"They've got good internationals, Brazilian internationals, Macedonian internationals, current and past Hungarian internationals.There's been a lot of money pumped into that team. They've probably the biggest budget in the Hungarian league so we can't underestimate the task.

"We have to approach the game that the longer it goes on, the more chance we've got if we're in the game. Then the pressure is on the opposition because they are at home and expected to go through. We've got to approach it in that fashion and will set the team up to try and play to our strengths and to try and counter their strengths."