CRAIG Harrison believes his The New Saints side will be better equipped to progress ahead of their crucial UEFA Conference League second qualifying round second leg in Luxembourg.

Saints had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw thanks to Rory Holden’s deflected strike after Connor Roberts had saved a penalty while TNS were 1-0 down.

Harrison agreed the quick turnarounds of European games often inhibit tactical analysis and admitted his side can learn much from the first-leg draw.

He said: “I think the first leg has allowed us to dissect them more because we’ve only seen two games of theirs with the new squad and manager.

“They played a different formation tonight to how they finished last season and we’ve seen tonight that we can get loads of positives out of it.

“The two things for me that stand out tonight are that I’m really proud of the players because they’ve shown they can dig deep.


“The second halves of both Hacken legs and tonight shows we can dig deep but we need to maybe put those two performances together and we won’t be far away.”

Harrison also hopes that his injury-hit squad will be boosted in numbers ahead of the trip to Luxembourg, with star striker Declan McManus completing 20 minutes at Park Hall.

Harrison added: “Dec and I have had good conversation and he’s always said he’ll play if we need him to play.

“He hasn’t kicked a ball since the Hacken first leg but I thought bringing him on was the right thing to do and it could have been done at half time.

“Ryan Brobbel hadn’t trained all week too and Danny Williams came on when he’s not fit – we’re really patching up the players and getting on with it.

“Hopefully with a bit of rest, we might get a few back and the lads playing with knocks might get three or four days rest too.

“It’s encouraging that we know we’re still in the tie and we can play better.

“We’ve got to remember that this team drew 1-1 with Bratislava so when we step away and review the result, it’s not going to be the worst.

“We’re going to reflect and review the game and see where and how we could do better.

“We need to see if it was a case of too many people having an off day – that’s all for review over the next 48 hours.”

County Times:

Harrison was critical of his side’s use of the ball on Tuesday, but equally happy that they continued to fight on until the end.

He said: “It was disappointing on how we used the ball in possession – it was really poor and not like us.

“We are good in possession, we’ve got really good players who are comfortable on the ball.

“The lads worked hard and we’ve had fewer numbers on the training pitch all week – that’s fine and I’m pleased and proud of that because it’s easy to give up but we’ve got a real mentality and team spirit.”