Date: Tue 10 Jul 2018

Preview - K.F Shkëndija v The New Saints

Champions ready for Macedonian test

K.F Shkëndija v The New Saints
Philip II National Arena, Skopje
19:15 KO (Wales Time)
Radio commentary available on TNS Radio, BBC Radio Shropshire and the BBC website.

The New Saints get their season underway tonight when they take on Macedonian champions KF Shkëndija in the UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round.

Scott Ruscoe’s side are well prepared for the clash at the Philip II National Arena, having completed their pre-season fixtures last week with a trip to Scotland, but the Saints boss is under no illusions of the challenge that awaits out in Skopje.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the game, Ruscoe said of Shkëndija that "they're a strong, physical side, are well organised and have a lot of ability. The players are at a good level and their fitness levels are probably higher than our league, so we have to match them. We're up for the challenge."

Ruscoe has added to the side over the summer, including bringing in former Liverpool youngster Kane Lewis, and defender Ben Cabango on loan from Swansea City, and the new look Saints will be put to the test by their hosts this evening.

Shkëndija raced away with the Macedonian First League title last season, a 35 point gap over second placed Vardar booking a second Champions League campaign for the Kuq e Zi.

Their record in Europe over the last two seasons has been good, having made the Playoff Round of the UEFA Europa League both times. Last season they dispatched HJK Helsinki and FK Trakai, both names familiar to Welsh football followers, before losing to AC Milan.

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