Allan Nielsen, whose famous diving header won us the League Cup final in 1999 and saw us qualify for the UEFA Cup the following season, this week popped into the Training Centre, where he was re-united with former team-mate Steffen Freund, now our Assistant Head Coach.
Both midfielders started as we visited Zimbru Chisinau in the UEFA Cup first round, second leg on September 30, 1999, after we had built up a 3-0 advantage from the first leg a fortnight beforehand.
It was a close-fought game at Zimbru’s former base in Speia – approximately 25 miles from Sheriff’s current home in Tiraspol – which ultimately ended goalless.
And Allan, now 42, reckons that result can serve as fair warning to the lads playing on Thursday night, as we look to extend our 100 per cent record in Group K of the Europa League.
“We were winning 3-0 at home before we went out to Moldova, but the result just shows how difficult these games can be if you’re not sure of your surroundings,” said Allan.
“Spurs are going away on Thursday to a difficult country to play in. You’ve got to go there, be professional, do the job, get the points and get back home again. That is what you are up against.”
Steffen, who has naturally been directly involved in our preparations for Thursday’s game, backed up the notion that a win is far from guaranteed on Thursday, despite our impressive European form.
“It’s not easy to go to Moldova,” he insisted. “Zimbru, who we played back then, drew 1-1 against Sheriff last weekend.
“Sheriff have been one of the top teams for a long time. I can remember that we drew 0-0 when we went before (to play Zimbru). It wasn’t a good game, we couldn’t create a lot of chances, but they couldn’t either.
“We beat them 3-0 at home so it was in the end a comfortable win, but it’s not easy in Moldova.”