Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter believes Wolves have ‘world class players’ and described facing them as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.
The Northern Irish side will be at Molineux next Thursday for the Europa League second qualifying round first leg tie after beating Faroe Islanders B36 Torshavn 5-2 on aggregate. They will then host Nuno Espirito Santo’s side seven days later for the second leg at their 3,393-capacity Seaview ground in North Belfast.
“You only get this opportunity once in a lifetime but we’ve fought to be there and now our fans will get the chance to see their players face a Premier League side at Seaview,” said Baxter after the Torshavn win.
“We are going up against one of the greatest teams in England, a squad of top-class players from all over the world. Wolves are a brilliant side, they beat Newcastle United earlier in the week 4-0.
“Wolves will be 10 grades above us and we know all of that but you can only prepare your own team. You try to set up a shape to contain Wolves as best as possible but we know the size of the task.”
“We go about it in the same manner as ever, we prepare as best we can. It’s a mammoth task but today (Torshavn result) was our day in the sun. To get this opportunity to play Wolves is brilliant for the club, so we will go and enjoy that result.
“We will go to Molineux and take all of that in before what is going to be a momentous occasion facing a Premier League team back at Seaview.”
Baxter highlighted the team ethic key to progress past Torshavn. “It was a total team performance, they were absolutely superb to a man,” he said. “The back four defended extremely well then we wanted to spring a counter-attack with the pace of Paul Heatley and Ross Clarke.
“Paul scored two goals, we might have had one or two more,” he added. “Howard Beverland and Chris Hegarty were absolutely superb. I’ve known the quality and strengths of Chris for many years. He has all of the hallmarks of a captain and leader and those qualities were obvious from the first night.
“He puts his body on the line and is an excellent, excellent addition to our squad so I’m delighted to have Chris with us, although it’s not about individuals from that performance. I congratulated the whole team as the players were outstanding.”