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The New Saints – A brief guide

Europa take on Welsh Champions The New Saints (TNS) in the Champions League this week, so we take a brief look at the team standing in the way of Europa at the first hurdle.

When were they founded – TNS first started in 1959 as Llansantffraid FC, who eventually joined with Oswestry Town.

I recognise them by a different name? – The New Saints were formerly known as Total Network Solutions, following a deal with an Oswestry-based computer networking specialist. The team garnered a lot of public awareness when Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling famously stated: “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight!”

Do they have European pedigree? – They have consistently qualified for Europe in the 21st century, most notably taking on then European champions Liverpool in the 05-06 qualifiers. They’ve either reached, or started in the Second Qualifying Round of the Champions League for each of the last five seasons.

Their stadium is not in Wales though? – TNS stadium, Park Hall, is actually based in Oswestry, a town in England just 8km away from the Welsh border – the equivalent of Europa playing in San Roque in terms of distance.

How did they do in the league last season? – They comfortably won the Welsh Premier by some 27 points, losing just three of 32 league matches and racking up over 100 goals in the process.

What players should we look out for? – One-time New Zealand international Greg Draper, as well as Alex Darlington, were the clubs two best goal threats in the league.

Random fact – TNS’ Polish winger Adrian Cieślewicz played his brother Lukasz at this stage in 2015, with TNS defeating Faroese side B36 Torshavn.

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Gibraltar U21 final squad confirmed

Gibraltar U21 Head Coach Aaron Asquez has confirmed his final 18-man squad for the UEFA U21 qualifier away at Austria on June 8th.

After selecting a preliminary 28-man squad on May 19th, Asquez and his team had a few days to run the rule over his squad, including a training match vs the Senior National Team, themselves preparing for a qualifying match against Cyprus on the 9th.

Injuries forced the manager’s hand with some of the players who missed the cut – Dayle Coleing, Jayce Consigliero, Luke Buxton and Alan Parker all picked up injuries that meant they were no longer fit enough to have any involvement with the squad, which meant the other six players who were unfortunate enough not to make the cut were Lee Coombes, Jack Breed, Keiron Garcia, Kevagn Ronco, Leone Seatory and Theo Pizarro.

Three members of Jeff Wood’s senior squad will join the team after this game, for the qualifier against Armenia on the 13th; Jamie Coombes, Erin Barnett and Jayce Olivero will all add senior experience to the U21 team in their second qualifier.

Gibraltar U21’s play away at Austria at 8:30pm Gib time on Thursday, before a ‘home’ game in Faro against Armenia on Tuesday 13th June, at 8pm Gib time.

Final U21 squad (for Austria away):

Goalkeepers – Bradley Banda, Robert Rae

Defenders – Louis Annesley, Liam Crisp, Ethan Jolley, Daniel Sanchez, Jamie Serra

Midfielders – Scott Ballantine, Leon Clinton, Tjay De Barr, Shaun De Los Santos, Andrew Hernandez, Michael Negrette, Cecil Prescott, Graeme Torrilla, Jesse Victory, Jaron Vinet

Forwards: Liam Thorne