Prospect of facing Wolves 'huge incentive'
The prospect of facing Wolves in the Europa League is a 'huge incentive' for Northern Irish side Crusaders, their veteran defender Sean Ward has stated.
Crusaders face Faroe Islands outfit B36 Torshavn in the first qualifying round of the Europa League next month – with the winners facing Wolves in the second round.
Belfast-based Crusaders are slight favourite for the tie.
And 35-year-old Ward said: "There's no denying it’s a huge incentive and I’d be lying if I said players weren't talking about the draw after it was made.
“Our WhatsApp Group lit up a bit, but there are enough players in the group to rein things back in again.
"Potentially it’s a brilliant draw against Premier League opposition, but the message is also one of 'hold on, we still have a job to do'.
"You can’t ignore the carrot dangling in front of us and playing a club of Wolves’ history and stature represents a high profile tie, but our full focus is on B36 Torshavn.
"And if facing Wolves is a massive incentive for us, you can be sure it will be the same for Torshavn. They will be thinking the same way as us."
Crusaders last played English opposition in 2011 when they lost 7-1 on aggregate to Fulham.
Ward says the focus must now be on not taking B36 Torshavn too lightly as they strive to earn a dream tie against Wolves.
“At Linfield we beat the likes of Torshavn and Runavik, but both ties were very difficult," he added.
“They had a very similar style to Irish League teams and were very direct so I know from personal experience that Faroese clubs are very difficult to beat.
“It would be lovely if we could guarantee a European tie against Wolves, but we can’t. The only way we do that is if we perform to our best and get the better of B36. That’s where our full focus lies now.”