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Page last updated at 18:24 GMT, Friday, 23 July 2010 19:24 UK

Cliftonville face travel problems for Europa League tie

Cliftonville celebrations in Croatia
Reds players celebrate with manager Eddie Patterson after the final whistle in Croatia

Cliftonville are facing a logistical "nightmare" in travelling to play CSKA Sofia in the third round of Europa League qualifiers on Tuesday night.

The match was brought forward from Thursday and the Reds must arrive in Bulgaria on Monday for the game.

The only charter flight available to the club accommodates just 27 people, meaning fans will have to make their own travel arrangements for Sofia.

The travel costs for the club are likely to exceed £40,000.

Cliftonville progressed to the third qualifying round after a scoreless draw against HNK Cibalia in Croatia gave them a 1-0 win on aggregate.

The club is set to make 180,000 euro in prize money but they will not receive the money until the New Year.

It is believed the Irish FA has offered to give an advance to Cliftonville on the prize to cover their expenses in Sofia.

"It is the logistics of getting there that's causing the problem," said club director David Begley.

"The fact our game is the only one in the third qualifying round to be moved from Thursday to Tuesday baffles me.

"When Uefa looked at these matches and the one they could change, they could have picked ties involving clubs more suitable than ours."

Midfielder Kieran O'Connor missed Thursday's victory because of work commitments but he will be available for the game in Sofia.

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see also
Reds stun Croats in Europa League
23 Jul 10 |  Northern Ireland
Patterson lauds his Reds heroes
23 Jul 10 |  Northern Ireland
Cliftonville may face CSKA Sofia
16 Jul 10 |  Irish
Cliftonville 1-0 HNK Cibalia
15 Jul 10 |  Irish

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