Motherwell in Europe: Who are Bala Town and Sligo Rovers, fixture dates, Conference League draw

Motherwell will face either Bala Town or Sligo Rovers in the Conference League second round qualifier.

The Steelmen were seeded in the draw, which was made this afternoon at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, following their fifth place finish in the Scottish Premiership.

There is still more than a month until Motherwell are in action. The first leg will take place at Fir Park on Thursday, July 21 with the return leg the following week.

Graham Alexander’s men won't find out who their opponent will be until July 14 when Bala and Sligo meet in the first leg of the first qualifying round.

So, with that in mind, The Scotsman takes a look at the two possible opponents

Bala Town

The Lakesiders are in European competition for the third season running following second-place finish in the Cymru Premier. Last year they lost to Northern Irish side Larne over two-legs in the Conference League, while the season prior they defeated Maltese outfit Valletta but lost to Belgian giants Standard Liege.

Amongst their team, they can count on former Wolves midfielder David Edwards who amassed 44 caps for Wales. He top scored for the club in the league last season with nine goals but fellow veteran Chris Venables, a Welsh league legend, hit 15 in all competitions. He missed a chunk of the league season due to suspension through two red cards.

Motherwell will face either Bala Town or Sligo Rovers in the Conference League second round qualifier. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Motherwell would have to travel to Maes Tegid in the north west of Wales, a 3,000-capacity ground .

The Steelmen will likely use Kilmarnock as an inspiration of what not to do. Killie lost to Welsh opponents Connah’s Quay Nomads in 2019.

Bala took part in the 2016/17 Scottish Challenge Cup but were defeated 4-2 by Alloa Athletic.

Sligo Rovers

Following a shortened 18-game season due to Covid-19 in 2020, in which Sligo finished fourth in the league, they were up to third last campaign, 21 points behind champions Shamrock Rovers and five off of St Patrick’s Athletic.

The Bit O’ Reds are 19 games into the current season but sit in fifth place, eight points from the European spots.

Their poor start to the season saw manager Liam Buckley leave the club in the middle of May. John Russell stepped into an interim role but has since been announced as the permanent manager.

Buckely had improved Sligo, leading them to their highest finish last season since 2013.

A name that may be familiar to Motherwell fans is striker Aidan Keena. The Irishman broke through at Hearts before moving onto Dunfermline Athletic. He is the club’s top scorer with seven goals in 16 appearances this campaign.

The team play at The Showgrounds which currently holds 3,873. There are plans to redevelop the ground, bringing it up to a 3,000 capacity which would see it upgraded to a UEFA category three ground.

Like Bala, Sligo have played in the Scottish Challenge Cup. Their appearance in 2017 saw them lose to Falkirk in their first outing. The following season they defeated Livingston Under-21s before being knocked out by Motherwell 21s.

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