'More backing from fans will help us' - Motherwell boss Graham Alexander looks ahead to Euro clash in Wales or Ireland

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander is pleased that playing a team from Wales or Ireland in European competition – as opposed to taking on a side from potentially thousands of miles away – will make it easier for Steelmen fans to attend the away tie.

Graham Alexander will lead Motherwell into European competition next month
Graham Alexander will lead Motherwell into European competition next month

The recent Europa Conference League second qualifying round draw pitted ’Well against either Welsh outfit Bala Town or Irish side Sligo Rovers, with the first leg at Fir Park on Thursday, July 21 and the second leg following a week later.

Bala will host Sligo next Thursday night before the return leg in Ireland seven days later, with the winners taking on Graham Alexander’s men who finished fifth in the Scottish Premiership last term.

“Being in Wales or Ireland it’s going to be easier to get to the game,” Alexander said.

"That will be great because the more backing we can get the better it is for us.

"Because we know they really get behind us and help the players.

"And they (the fans) will be looking forward to the trip and the journey, it’s like a little adventure.

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"It’s like when you see the Tartan Army following Scotland. It’s more than just a game, it’s an experience so hopefully our supporters will enjoy theirs.”

Motherwell are potentially three rounds – and six matches – away from reaching the group stages of the tournament and netting a guaranteed £2.5 million.

Gaffer Alexander insisted that the Steelmen would find a way of coping with the demands of playing extra European matches in addition to their domestic league commitments.

"In modern football I think you just have to be really adaptable in terms of what’s going to be put towards you,” he said.

"Gone are the days when you have a six-week pre-season and then a set period of the season, that’s it then everyone gets another six to eight-week break.

"That just doesn’t exist any more. The seasons are nearly year-long round, the pitches get changed at the last minute and there’s so many competitions and games that it’s really difficult to plan.

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"So you sort of almost plan to be prepared for anything that comes your way. So you don’t make too big a deal if something might go wrong, postponed or cancelled.

"You just sort of roll with the punches.”