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HAPPY HOMECOMING?

Posted on 14 February 2008  - 12:00

Radek Cerny is hoping it proves to be a happy homecoming when we take on his former club Slavia Prague in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 tonight.

Radek Cerny is hoping it proves to be a happy homecoming when we take on his former club Slavia Prague in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 tonight.The goalkeeper's association with Slavia began when he was just six years old so it will clearly be a special encounter for the now 34-year-old should he take to the field for the 1st leg here in Prague.

"I am happy to be back in Prague because it is my home town and all my friends and family will be here," said Radek after training on Wednesday evening. "It is nice to see all the people again, I was here for about 24 years, but the Slavia team is different now and I only played with about four of them.

"I think they will be similar to last year, they have changed a few players, but Vladimir Smicer is not expected to play and he is their best player. Slavia are top of the league though and have been playing very well.

"I have played against Slavia only once before, around 12 years ago when I was on loan to another Czech team. They won the league and this year they have the chance to do it again. I want them to do this, but we want to go through against Slavia and win the UEFA Cup - this is more important to me now."

It is expected to be pretty cold tonight with the kick-off being at 9pm local time, but Radek explained that the chill-factor is not as extreme as he has experienced in the past. The Czech season is set to resume this weekend after the winter break.

"Usually at this time of year in Prague it is so much colder than it is now - it is normally around -10!

"It will be difficult, but the last competitive game Slavia played was in the Champions League in December. In the Czech League there are two breaks and the winter one is much longer than the summer break.

"We have played lots of games and Slavia have just played friendlies before the season starts again this weekend."