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Tuesday 23rd April v. Glenavon (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 7:45pm

Odds BK Match Preview
Uploaded Wednesday, 5th Jul, 2017 at 12:15

BALLYMENA United face Norwegian side Odds BK in the return leg of the Europa League First Qualifying Round on Thursday evening.
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The first leg in Skien, Norway, ended in a 3-0 defeat, Stefan Mladenovic opening the scoring in the opening minute of the game, Martin Broberg managing to fire the ball into the net after Jone Samuelsen's penalty cannoned off the bar seven minutes into the second half. The third goal was scored by substitute Sigurd Haugen in injury time, cutting inside the edge of the box and deceiving Ross Glendinning with a low drive at his near post.
Odds BK:
Odds Ballklubb, commonly known as Odd, is a Norwegian football club from Skien. They qualified for this years Europa League by finishing last season in 3rd place in the Norwegian Eliteserien, behind champions Rosenborg and runners-up Brann.

They're currently 15 games into their league season and sit in 7th place having won 6, drawn 4 and lost 5 games. The last 5 games have seen 4 draws and a defeat. Their last league match prior to defeating United 3-0 last Thursday was a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Aalesund, and on Sunday they drew 0-0 at home to Sarpsborg 08.
Ballymena United:
Ballymena United qualified for this seasons Europa League through the Northern Ireland Football League play-off system, involving the teams in 4th to 7th place playing a mini knockout competition. Ballymena United, having finished 4th in the league, defeated 7th placed Dungannon Swifts 5-2 at home, while 5th placed Cliftonville lost 3-5 to 6th placed Glenavon. This set up a tough game against Glenavon, who United hadn't managed to beat since March 2014. A packed Ballymena Showgrounds watched on in the play-off final as the home side ran out 2-1 winners to the delight of the "Sky Blue Army" (Ballymena United supporters) and officials and players of the Club.
Speaking after last Thursday's game in Norway, manager David Jeffrey said "The people of Ballymena United, our community, our club and supporters should be extremely proud after seven training sessions and two games against a full-time professional side 14 games into their season.

We asked the players to go out give their best, and they got caught with a bit of nerves for the first goal but after that they stood firm with such hard work, such discipline and such commitment. Things could have been so different on another day. The difference at this level is that mistakes are punished and chances HAVE to be taken.

I could not be prouder of our players, I thought we had hero upon hero and I am so proud to be manager of this club. We now look forward to welcoming Odd BK back to Northern Ireland next week.

We said to the players, we wanted to give them a professional experience and a learning experience to adapt their game. The players and staff has been tremendously well looked after by the club, unbelievable approach by Iain Black, Jonny Irwin, Philip Simpson and Don Stirling. The whole trip has been most enjoyable and the warmth of the Norwegian people.

I have spoken to the players, but I make no apologies for raising expectations. We will set the bar a bit higher now to drive these players on and this game is key point in that experience."
Sky Blue Express
Translink are running a special return express train service from Ballymena to Yorkgate for the game. Click here to find out times and ticket news.
Special Europa League Souvenir Programme
Ballymena United have produced a Special Edition of Sky Blue Review for Thursday night's game against Odds BK. Each programme will cost £3 and any remaining stock will be available to buy from our online shop. Click here for more details.
Special Europa League Souvenir Programme
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Seven Towers SC Bus
The Seven Towers Supporters Club bus will leave Henry Street Car Park at 6:30pm.
Welcome To Odds BK
We'd like to welcome the officials, players and supporters of Odds Ballklubb to Northern Ireland. We had a wonderful time in Skien so we wish you all a safe journey and an enjoyable time.
The pitch at Skagerak Arena being watered prior to the game last Thursday
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Ballymena United were given a very warm welcome by all in Skien
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Please click here for the location of Seaview, Belfast, where the match will be played.

The easiest way to get to the stadium is by using public transport. Our main transport network is run by Translink and all timetables can be found on their website. There is a regular return bus service from Belfast City Centre to Seaview (Shore Road). Please click here to view the route map.
Match Officials:
Referee: Radek Prihoda. Assistant 1: Jiri Molacek. Assistant 2: Kamil Hajek. 4th Official: Miroslav Zelinka.
Match Information:
Admission to the game is strictly by ticket only.

Tickets - £10 for adults (Voksen), £7 for children under 16 (Barn) and senior citizens (Honnor) are available at Stirling Trophies, Ballymena, and will also be on sale from the Social Club at Seaview before the game.

Kick off is 7:45pm local time (8:45pm CEST).
United may have had a tough time in Skien, and the home leg will be no different. As always though, manager David Jeffrey will have the players well prepared and inspired for the game and we'd encourage as many Sky Blues as possible to act as our 12th man and be loud and proud in the stands.

United We Stand - Come On Sky Blues!
Match Preview by Paul Irwin