Who are ya? Universitatea Craiova
Feature by Jacob Daniel
Updated Monday, 13th July 2009
First pre-season game for Magpies.Notts County are set to face their first pre-season match of the year tonight, when they face Romanian top flight outfit Universitatea Craiova in Bischofshofen. The match gets underway at 6pm local time, 5pm in the UK, and will be a good work out for the Magpies against a side who boast a number of Romanian internationals.
Delroy Facey is still missing due to Gold Cup duty with Grenada, but trialist Luke Rodgers as well as all other members of the squad are fit and will be available for selection by Ian McParland.
Name - Universitatea Craiova
Founded - 1948
Nickname - The Blue Lions
Ground - Ion Oblemonco (27,915)
Manager - Daniel Mogosanu
Universitatea Craiova, one of the most famous sides in Romania, were formed officially in 1948 by a group of professors and students at Craiova University, although football in Romania's 6th largest city had been on going since 1921, with Universitatea being the final result of various mergers.
While the club had won three Romanian top flight titles prior to 1982/83, that season will live long in the memory of Craiova fans as their most successful in history. The unfashionable side from West Romania found their way into the UEFA Cup semi finals, where they were heartbreakingly beaten on away goals by Sporting Lisbon. European greats such as Fiorentina, Kaiserslautern and Bordeaux were dispatched en-route to the semi's by Craiova, and it remains one of Romanian club football's finest moments. The 82/83 side also contained Craiova's two greats ever players, Ilie Balaci and Rodion Camataru.
In 1991 Craiova won the double of Romanian League and Cup, but it remains their last major silverware to date. In the 2004/05 season the club were relegated to Liga II for the first time in their long history, but they stormed to the title the next season and have re-established themselves as a strong side in the top division, finishing 7th last season.
Craiova boast a strong squad, and on paper they should be too strong for a fourth division outfit from England. Whilst perhaps not being a fashionable footballing nation, Romania currently has a stronger league than both Scotland and Portugal, according to FIFA's coefficients, and Craiova are on of the stronger teams in Liga I.
Captain Dorel Stoica has become an icon at the club as he has made over 100 appearances for Universitatea, and has now been capped 4 times by the national team, scoring once. Mercurial winger Valentin Badea could be in line to make his first ever appearance for the club, with the former Steaua Bocharest man having joined the side in the summer. Whilst in goal, youngster Silviu Lung Jr. is the son of club legend Silviu Lung who was part of the UEFA Cup semi-final side.
Craiova also boast a quartest of Austrialians in Josh Mitchell, Spase Dilevski, Michael Baird and Joshua Rose, with Dilveski having had a brief spell at Tottenham Hotspur as a youngster. They also have a Belgian goalkeeper in Peter Merlier and Sierra Leone striker Julius Wobay is expected to lead the line.
Notts County vs. Universitatea Craiova kicks off at 5pm BST, and NCM will have all the reaction from Austria first!