By Ashley Cox

BARRY Town manager Gavin Chesterfield will send a strong, 24-man squad into battle this week, as his team aims to make waves in the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League qualifiers.

Barry tackle NSI Runavik on the Faroe Islands in the Preliminary Round on Thursday, with the winners set to travel to Aberdeen in the First Qualifying Round, only seven days later.

Due to UEFA's Covid-19 regulations, these one-legged ties will be behind-closed-doors, though it has been confirmed the NSI vs Barry match will be broadcast live on the club's Facebook page and shown at the Jenner Park clubhouse, which opens at 3.30pm.

Kick-off is at 6pm (UK time), with the tie to be settled by extra-time and penalties, if required.

The club will be offering commemorative matchday ticket stubs on the night, as it competes on the European stage for the second successive season and the 11th time in its history.

Barry's Europa League squad contains a promising blend of emerging youth and experience, with goalkeeper Mike Lewis among those with previous European campaigns to their name.

With 119 appearances for Barry, Lewis kept a clean sheet in last summer's home leg against Cliftonville and has worn the jersey of Aberystwyth Town in a previous European excursion.

Also packing their gloves for the Faroe Islands adventure this week were short-term signing Harry Thomas-Barker, who arrives from Bristol Rovers, as well as academy goalkeeper Ryley Allen; the squad's youngest player at 17.

Eight defenders on the charter flight will hope to contain the NSI attack, with Wales futsal international Chris Hugh expected to add to his 125 appearances for Barry at full-back and centre-back Luke Cooper likewise likely to build on his own haul, which stands at 138.

None of the squad have made more appearances than full-back Paul Morgan, whose tally of 183 stretches over seven successful seasons, from Wales' fourth tier to the JD Cymru Premier.

In contrast, teenager Alex Brookes-Bent is taking his first steps into the first team mix, the development defender having made his Cymru Premier debut in the 2019-20 campaign.

Central to the team's qualification, Luke Cummings has proven a most dependable figure and will almost certainly start for Barry, after playing every minute in the league last term.

Adding to the riches at his disposal, manager Chesterfield can call upon the highly-rated Evan Press, the energetic Rhys Abbruzzese and former Cardiff City player Curtis McDonald, the Wales U21 international having featured during Barry's pre-season, behind-close-doors.

Like McDonald, Callum Sainty can slot into a defensive or midfield role and the 34-year old will aspire to assert his towering presence on the tie in Toftir, should the opportunity arise.

Neither Kyle Patten nor Theo Wharton were able to show much of themselves to the Barry support prior to March's lockdown, but Wharton's commanding performance at Jenner Park on his January debut suggests the St. Kitts and Nevis international could be a pivotal player.

While the same could well be said for fellow January signing David Cotterill, the former Wales midfielder is far from a stranger to fans of the game and retains the kind of winning intangibles that could transform any stalemate into success.

Meanwhile, cousin Jordan Cotterill has been an integral force as playmaker and goalscorer, netting 70 times in 165 appearances as his side re-climbed the leagues to reach this point.

Providing Barry's midfield with heart and drive, both Clayton Green and Robbie Patten would make worthy European starters, the pair making over 100 starts between them.

Elsewhere, the returning Michael George will be itching to make a European impact for his hometown team, after earning valuable top flight experience with Llanelli and Penybont.

In attack, Barry had occasionally become over-dependent on Kayne McLaggon, though the ex-Southampton hitman, who grew up by Jenner Park, would typically rise to the occasion, scoring 44 goals in 96 appearances after signing from Merthyr Town in the summer of 2017.

Excitingly, the prolific McLaggon has a new number nine to play off, with the Antigua and Barbuda forward Nat Jarvis arriving from Chippenham in July to bolster the Barry charge.

While supporters are yet to see the best of Jack Compton and Keyon Reffell, both players bring an attacking pedigree and experience from English pyramid, where Compton turned out for Portsmouth, Hartlepool United and others, while Reffell spent time with Hereford.

Finally, Curtis Hutson might not have dreamed of a European appearance when he was turning the screw for Barry in Welsh League Division Two, but the winger has winged his way into Chesterfield's plans and could well feature as a wildcard at any point in the tie.

As Barry wrapped up their European preparations with a fruitful friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday, NSI were left ruing a 2-1 defeat against Vikingur in their domestic league.

Nevertheless, Thursday's unforgiving one-off format could easily see the form book thrown out of the window, as both teams look to seize the day and book their ticket to Aberdeen.

While turnaround time for the winners will be short, Derek McInnes' Dons are in action themselves on Thursday, travelling to St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership, before welcoming Livingstone to Pittodrie on Sunday afternoon.

Supporters wishing to tune in for NSI vs Barry from home this Thursday night are encouraged to visit