Wednesday night is no ordinary European match for Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers.
While the 37-year-old and his team-mates will be aiming to leave Riga with a win, for the Meathman it marks a record equalling 41st European appearance.
That will put him level with his PFAI colleague Ollie Cahill with the guarantee of at least two more games to come this season even if things go pear-shaped for Vinny Perth’s side in Latvia.
While it is a nice honour for Rogers, the result is most important. Nevertheless he is proud of the records he has built up and he knows that if the Lilywhites advance this week it will give them at least another four European games – something that will only help him build on his number of appearances.
The net minder kept the 12th clean sheet of his career in Europe in the first leg and he’s hoping he can make it lucky number 13 in Skonto Stadium this week.
“If I can get a clean sheet next week I’ll be very happy because we’ll certainly be still in the tie anyway.
“It’s nice to be reaching them sort of numbers but it’s just great to be playing Champions League football and in European competitions. It’s a real bonus for League of Ireland players and I’m just delighted that I’ve been involved in so many of them. Hopefully there are plenty more to come though.”
A 0-0 draw in the first leg leaves the tie on a knife edge but Rogers said the result of Wednesday’s second leg would determine how good a result or not last week’s game in Oriel was.
“It depends how it goes next week,” he said.
“Probably the most important thing is that we didn’t give away an away goal. A 0-0 is certainly better than a 1-1 so from that perspective it’s positive.
“To win any tie you have to go and score a goal. We’ll be hopeful that they’d probably come out a little bit more in the second leg because they were probably happy with the 0-0 draw tonight. We had chances but they just didn’t fall for us right at times.
“Going into the second leg, we’ll have learned a little bit more about them and you’d be hopeful that if the game opens up a little bit more that we’d be able to exploit that.”
With the possibility of penalties should the game finish 0-0 after extra time, Rogers said he would practice them this week.
“We probably will. You never leave any stone unturned,” he said.
“We didn’t practice penalties this week but lads are always taking a few to keep themselves sharp. It will be something that we’ll do though.”
He’ll hope that he’s still in the Champions League when he inevitably surpasses Cahill next week but regardless of how many games this season’s European journey entails, Rogers feels there is still plenty left in the tank and is hopeful of still being at Oriel Park next season.
“Absolutely, there’s no doubt about that.
“This is a great club. I’m obviously more than happy here. Things have gone well for me over the last five years and I’d be eager to stay on but it’s one of those things that we’ll hopefully tidy up now over the next few weeks,” he said.