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Airbus UK Broughton: Wingmakers eye Europa League dream

HOME advantage can play a key role in securing Europa League football for Airbus next season, according to Airbus UK Broughton manager Andy Preece.

The Wingmakers will host Aberystwyth Town in the play-offs rather than making the trip to Prestatyn after financially-stricken Neath were kicked out following the rejection of their Domestic and Uefa Licence appeals on Friday.

The decision moved all the Welsh Premier League Europa League play-off clubs up a rung, so Airbus will face Aber for the right to play Prestatyn in the next round.

Airbus will begin their campaign on Bank Holiday Monday at the Airfield and Preece is hoping playing at home can provide his side – who will have stand-in keeper Any Mulliner in goal – with a vital advantage.

“It’s a home game so there should be an advantage in our favour,” he said. “It’s always better to play at home but it’s going to be a difficult game as Aberystwyth have played well in the past few weeks.

“We have played them twice in the past few months, winning one and losing one, so it will probably be a very evenly matched game – that’s when home advantage may just tip the balance.”

And Preece admitted that the confusion caused by Neath’s problems has made life more difficult for his team.

“It doesn’t help our preparations, not knowing who you are going to be playing, that’s for sure,” he said. “But we will be ready for Aberystwyth.

“It’s nice to have something to look forward to at this stage of the season that shows our progression.

“If we get through this Europa League play-off then we have progressed again. There is no pressure on us – anything we do is a bonus from here.”

And the boss reiterated the importance that European football can have.

He said: “Qualifying for the Europa League is a massive deal for any club. It’s the top teams who are consistently getting into Europe and it is so vital to secure that extra revenue.

“The chance to secure an increase in the club’s budget for the next season is massive for all club’s, not just Airbus.”

Preece will have a full complement of players to choose from against Aberystwyth (kick off 2pm), with the exception of Niki Lee-Bulmer – whose shoulder injury means Mulliner will take charge between the sticks – and Jay Connolly, whose chances of a return are described as ‘touch and go’.