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

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

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, 07 May 2015
20:05
Napoli v Dnipro  
Sevilla v Fiorentina  
Thursday, 14 May 2015
Dnipro v Napoli  
Fiorentina v Sevilla  
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
19:45
Semi-Final 1 Winner v Semi-Final 2 Winner  

Footer 365

Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace: Blues secure Premier League title with nervy win

Chelsea secured their first Premier League title in five years after a nervy 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Four-time winner Drogba delighted as Chelsea secure title

Legendary Chelsea striker Didier Drogba celebrated his fourth title triumph after Chelsea defeated Crystal Palace 1-0.

John Terry revels in Chelsea title win at Stamford Bridge

John Terry said winning his fourth Premier League title at Stamford Bridge was “what he lived for”.

Mail Box

Shouldn't We Give Players Time?

Do we really want to throw out the baby with the bathwater every single summer? We also have a Man United fan who wants massive investment. And more...

Liverpool: No Greater Than Aston Villa

It's fair to say that Raúl H. Garcia from the morning mailbox has got something of a kicking on Thursday afternoon. Oh and the Neviller is wrong for once...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company