A Bilbao v Hapoel Kiryat preview

Fernando Llorente will start Thursday's Europa League tie with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona on the bench after announcing he won't sign a new deal.

Last Updated: 19/09/12 at 16:35

Llorente: Handed substitute role

Llorente: Handed substitute role

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

The 27-year-old striker has refused to sign an extension to his Athletic Bilbao contract, and although he has since suggested he would be willing to talk to club officials in January, he has found himself sidelined by manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Llorente made the most of the substitute's berth he was given at the weekend as he came on to score the equaliser in a 3-3 draw at Espanyol.

That earned Athletic only their fourth point of the season, and Gorka Iraizoz is hoping they can find the rhythm they have been lacking by switching to the Europa League.

"We are playing at home, we believe in ourselves," he said. "We can get back on track with a win."

Athletic made it all the way to the final last season, and an opening fixture against Europa League group stage debutants Hapoel looks straightforward.

However, Iraizoz is cautioning against arrogance.

"The groups are always difficult," he added. "It's not just a cliche to say so. All the teams have their strengths.

"Last year we had the chance to play in the final, but although the road is long and you have to put in a lot of work, you have to believe you can reach the final."

Athletic have won both their home European matches this season during the qualifiers, extending their unbeaten home run in contintental competition to 11 matches.

Isreali champions Kiryat Shmona played in the qualifying rounds of the old UEFA Cup in 2008/09, their European debut, but this is their first time in the group stages.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Europa League Fixtures

Thursday, 02 October 2014
17:00
D Moscow v PSV  
Krasnodar v Everton  
18:00
Aalborg v Rio Ave  
Dinamo Minsk v Fiorentina  
Dynamo Kiev v S Bucuresti  
Feyenoord v S Liege  
Guingamp v PAOK S'nika  
Lokeren v Metalist  
Rijeka v Sevilla  
Slovan v Napoli  

Footer 365

Premier League: Crystal Palace beat Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park

Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Everton 3-2 and pick up their first win of the Premier League campaign.

Premier League: Frank Lampard haunts Chelsea as he earns Manchester City earn 1-1 draw

Frank Lampard stepped off the bench to score against his former club and salvage a 1-1 draw for Man City at home to Chelsea.

Premier League: Frank Lampard has mixed emotions after scoring against Chelsea

Frank Lampard was almost speechless after scoring the equaliser for his Manchester City side in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Mail Box

Liverpool Aren't Even Exciting This Season

Liverpool fans are seemingly resigned to slipping back into mediocrity, which in September isn't exactly ideal. Plus better Arsenal, Allardyce praise and an excited Saint...

Be Careful What You Wish For, Gooners

That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property