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Thomson happy to turn focus to European campaign with Derry City

Joe Thomson (left) scored in Derry City's Europa League first qualifying defeat to Lithuania side FK Riteriai in 2020 but his eager to be part of a winning European tie with the Candystripes
Seamus Crudden

DERRY City's Joe Thomson can't wait for Thursday night's Europa Conference League encounter against Riga FC.

The talented midfielder scored in City's last European adventure but his goal came in their Europa League first qualifying defeat to Lithuania side FK Riteriai in 2020 and he hopes they can have a better outcome this time around.

"We came in over the weekend and preparation really started on the Riga game," he insisted.

"All the lads were in good form at training on Sunday and everyone can't wait for the game.

"We know the Brandywell is going to be absolutely bouncing on Thursday, it will be a full stadium, with a big support behind us.

"Hopefully we can go and make it hard for Riga and show them what we are capable of and play to our strengths."

Thomson also concedes that the Candystripes, who had a fantastic victory at Bohemians on Friday evening, can now turn their full attention to Riga FC as the league campaign gets put to bed for a few weeks.

"We have had full focus on league games and only really started to talk and work on Riga since Sunday," he added.

"Our full focus is on the European tie now. We'll be doing our preparation and analysis all week leading up to Thursday.

"When you are playing in Europe every team is going to raise their game and that includes us as well. Look, we know it's not going to be an easy game.

"They are a good side and have the pedigree of playing in Europe over the last number of years, but look we'll have no fear and with us playing at home first, we're going to go and attack the game, so hopefully we can come away with a positive performance and result on Thursday night."

With the away goals rule now abolished in European football, the 25-year-old feels the two legged tie may change a bit.

"Possibly the tie will change slightly because away goals don't really matter as much as they did a few years ago," he explained.

"But listen, we worked so hard last year to claw back teams above us to ensure we got into Europe, so because of that we'll go and enjoy it.

"We know that we have to give a good account of ourselves if we want a positive result, but as I said we have nothing to fear because we have got good players and on our day we're a match for anyone."

Thomson, who scored at Dalymount Park on Friday evening, also believes that City's big players need to show their European experience against the Latvia side.

"That's why probably a few of the lads like Fats (Patrick McEleney), Will (Patching) and Mickey (Duffy) came back this year, because the opportunity to come back to their hometown club, in Fats and Mickey's case, and play in Europe was a big thing for them," he stated.

"We have earned the right to play in Europe this season, after working so far hard last season, so now it's all about giving it our all over the two legs and we'll certainly go out and attack both games to try and win the tie."

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