Tottenham Hotspur are heading into this week's Europa League Group Stage match against Shamrock Rovers with a much stronger squad than they have fielded in recent weeks. The return to fitness of Aaron Lennon, Danny Rose, and Steven Pienaar will put quite a few more first team players in the XI. Unfortunately, Roman Pavlyuchenko is also likely to play.
Unlike our opponents this weekend in the North London Derby, I know basically nothing about Shamrock Rovers, except that they are an Irish Club. However, through research and Twitter I have managed to come up with five things that I know.
1. Shamrock Rovers are the reigning champions of the League of Ireland. The club has won Ireland's top league 16 times, but, before last year, hadn't won since 1994. The club is nicknamed the Hoops or the Rovers and (surprise, surprise) their colors are green and white.
2. Rovers qualified for the Champions league and after beating Estonia's champions Flora Tallinn lost in the next qualifying stage to FC Copenhagen. At that point they dropped down to the Europa League Qualifying where the club scored a historic victory over Partizan Belgrade which made them the first Irish club to play in the group stages of a major European competition. In their first group stage match Rovers lost at home to Rubin Kazan 3-0.
3. The Club's top scorer last season was Scottish striker Gary Twigg. Twigg scored 20 goals in the league last season. He's previously played for Derby County, Bristol Rovers, and Airdrie United. That's pretty much all I know about him.
4. Former Spurs winger and current member of our Tottenham Hotspur Worst XI of the Decade Rohan Ricketts plays for Shamrock Rovers. What can I say about Ricketts that hasn't been said already? He's made four appearances for the club and scored one goal. Former players always play well against their former teams so I'm sure Ricketts will have an amazing game.
5. Five was a bit of a struggle, but I've found it! The Irish club have a few good youngsters. Rovers left back Edna Stevens is set to join Aston Villa in January of 2012 and if Lennon is going to play Stevens will have his hands full. Additionally, midfielder Conor McCormack is a former Manchester United youth player and has captain the Republic of Ireland youth squads at various levels.
So, there you have it. Those are the five things I know. Do you know anything else or at least anything more useful?