English League 1

Clarke set for surgery

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Wed, 13 Mar 2013 17:17:00

Viktoria Plzen manager Pavel Vrba believes Galatasaray's Champions League triumph over Schalke will act as a timely reminder about the standard of Turkish opposition.

Plzen take on Fenerbahce in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, hoping to overcome a one-goal deficit from the first leg.

Vrba's outfit were seen as the favourites to progress to the next stage after completing an impressive 5-0 aggregate win over Napoli in the last round, and their domestic form has only heightened those expectations with Plzen currently topping the Czech League.

However, they must now travel to Turkey on the back of a 1-0 defeat and Vrba insists his team are under no illusions about the challenge they face in Istanbul.

"I just hope that after Galatasaray's win over Schalke on Tuesday, it is clear to everyone that the Turks are not bad footballers. Fenerbahce also have great quality," he told Aktualne.cz.

"We have always been in a slightly different position. Now we know that we have to score once to at least extend the match."

The hosts come into this encounter full of confidence, following up last week's victory in Plzen with a crucial 4-1 hammering of Bursaspor in the Super Lig, yet they will be wary of facing a team that are unbeaten in their last three European trips.

Fenerbahce midfielder Selcuk Sahin was part of the team that registered a precious away goal last time out but he admits the tie is far from over.

"We gained an advantage in the first game, but we are not yet through," he told the club's official website.

"We are aware of the strength of our opponents and we are going to play the game with the same seriousness. It will not be easy."

The club also owes around ?450,000 to creditors - including Raith Rovers and Cowdenbeath - and players and staff have faced repeated wage delays recently.

Speaking after a recent fans' forum, club legend Jim Leishman said: "I'm not sure how many days we've got left, it depends on other people - but we know it's not months away, it is weeks.

"We need a mixture of supporters and business people - we need the blend to drive it forward.

"The supporters will be playing a major part in the future of Dunfermline but the business community has got to come and give the club its support as well."

Another former Pars stalwart, Sir Alex Ferguson, has suggested that he would be prepared to send a Manchester United side to East End Park in a bid to raise much-needed funds.

The 28-year-old has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks but the decision has been made to have surgery to prevent any long-term problems.

"Leon's ankle problem has been something that he has carried and the way he has performed despite this is a testament to him," said City manager Steven Pressley.

"We obviously need to bear in mind Leon's long term fitness and felt this decision was the right one.

"Hopefully this means he can overcome something that has been troubling him for a while and we can get him back in full health sooner rather than later."

Clarke has scored an impressive 21 goals in 31 appearances this season for Scunthorpe and then the Sky Blues.

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