A TRIP to Norway could await Barry Town United, should the Jenner Park side be able to defeat opponents Cliftonville over two legs in the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League Preliminary Round.

Tuesday’s draw for the First Qualifying Round at UEFA HQ in Switzerland paired the winners of the upcoming Barry/Cliftonville tie with FK Haugesund, who finished fourth in the Norwegian Eliteserien.

Should Barry be able to successfully negotiate the impending Preliminary Round, they will welcome Haugesund to Wales on Thursday 11th July, with the reverse in southern Norway, seven days later.

Barry will head to Northern Ireland this weekend for a UEFA Europa League dress rehearsal of sorts, with Gavin Chesterfield’s squad squaring up against Ballymena United in a 1pm kick-off on Saturday.

As fate would have it, Barry’s upcoming Preliminary Round opponents Cliftonville will be heading in the opposite direction, with the Northern Irish play-off winners poised to play against the JD Welsh Premier League, JD Welsh Cup and IRN-BRU Cup runners-up Connah’s Quay Nomads in Broughton.

Ballymena, who face the daunting prospect of a Preliminary Round trip to the Faroe Islands, finished some 17 points clear of Cliftonville in last season’s NIFL Premiership and should therefore pose most a most useful test for Barry Town, as their early pre-season prepares to morph into competitive play.

After the visit to Ballymena, all roads will lead to Leckwith Stadium, Barry’s reluctant home for the Europa League opener, after Jenner Park’s 3G pitch was deemed to have failed its FIFA Pro testing.

Tickets for the first leg on Thursday 27th June (an early evening, 6.30pm kick-off) are now available from the club and the Football Association of Wales at £10 (adults), £7 (OAPs) and £5 (children).

Supporters can also buy online now via www.eticketing.co.uk/fawtickets-english

It is understood the Welsh leg will be a ticket-only affair, while the club is awaiting confirmation on arrangements for the return in Belfast, with Cliftonville previously accepting payment on the gate.

An estimated 100 or so supporters have booked their trips to Northern Ireland for July 4th, with fans set to make the trip via air and sea for Barry’s first competitive European away day since July of 2003.

The second leg against Cliftonville has been confirmed to be played at Solitude (7.45pm), a stadium that holds the unique distinction of being home of the first-ever penalty in international football.

In its earliest years, Solitude became home of the Irish national team, while the present-day ground plays host to a 3G surface of its own, with a seated capacity of around 2,500.

Barry continued their run of UEFA Europa League tune-ups on Saturday, as almost 250 spectators in pursuit of a football fix watched a 1-1 draw with the Panjab FA’s representative team at Jenner Park.

Fielding a largely-familiar XI, with the likes of goalkeeper Mike Lewis and midfielder Troy Greening signed to renewed contracts in the week, Barry took the lead eight minutes before the break when forward Kayne McLaggon converted from close range at the back post.

However, Panjab’s resilient debutant goalkeeper managed to keep his team in contention, before Jayden Sandhu capitalised on an interception to run on and equalise with their final kick of the game.

Defender Luke Cummings made his Barry debut in the friendly, with the former Cardiff City and Bath City man having previously spent six seasons with JD Welsh Premier League rivals Carmarthen Town.

Meanwhile, winger Jack Compton was expected to link up with the Jenner Park outfit for Tuesday (18th)’s home friendly with The New Saints, after the club announced his signing the prior evening.

One of a host of local lads to join the Barry Town squad, 30-year old Compton played youth football at Portsmouth, before signing with the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Brighton and Hove Albion and eventually Falkirk, where he made his debut as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Celtic at Celtic Park.

Later returning to Fratton Park, Compton also played alongside Barry’s European hero Mike Flynn at Bradford City, with both coincidentally scoring in the same match with Leeds United at Elland Road.

In other news, former Town goalkeeper Lee Kendall, who was part of the club’s last adventure in the then-UEFA Cup in the summer of 2000, has reprised his old role as the club’s Head of Goalkeeping, following a short spell as first team boss at Pontypridd Town, who he steered away from relegation.

The son of former Tottenham stopper Mark, Kendall, who manned the sticks for Barry against Portugal’s Boavista 19 seasons ago, will also assist Gavin Chesterfield with player recruitment.

Finally, the club was sad to learn of the passing of former player Joe Blackie, uncle of 1980s mainstay Jimmy, who turned out for the Linnets in the Southern and Welsh Leagues between 1948 and 1957.

Scoring on his debut against Troedyrhiw in October 1948, Blackie would form part of the 1952 South Wales and Monmouthshire Cup-winning team who defeated Merthyr 2-1 in the final at Jenner Park.