GEORGE HORAN afforded himself a wry smile as Eamonn Brophy was linked with a million pound move to Cardiff City.

The 23-year-old striker is thought to be high on Neil Warnock’s wishlist, the speculation mounting just 48 hours after Kilmarnock crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Horan’s Connah’s Quay Nomads.

Brophy scored a late penalty in the first-leg, but barely had a sniff otherwise as the 37-year-old Horan and Danny Holmes kept the Scotland international quiet as Nomads recorded a 3-2 aggregate success.

Asked about whether Brophy showed he was Championship class, a modest central defender Horan said: “It’s hard to tell. I don’t know a lot about him, but Danny and myself did well against him.

“When you see he’s an international it’s good to test yourself against these types of players and in these types of games.

“At my age you don’t know when your next big game might be.”

Horan doesn’t have to wait too long for his next big game with Nomads due to tackle Partizan Belgrade in the second qualifying round at Rhyl’s Belle Vue tomorrow night, 6.30pm kick-off.

It’s not the first time Horan has come up against the Serbian giants. The Chester-born defender was part of the Rhyl team that were beaten 12-0 on aggregate back in 2009.

Brazilian striker Cleo, who later moved to China for £3m scored four goals across the two legs, while internationals Lamine Diarra, Nenad Djordjevic, Brana Ilic, Radosav Petrovic and Mladen Krstajic completed the rout.

Horan recalled: “I’ve tried to forget about the last time I played against Partizan Belgrade.

“I know we had a good team back then at Rhyl, but the team was starting to break up due to off-field problems and we struggled with structure.

“It finished 12-0 to Partizan on aggregate, but it could have been any score because they were that good.

“Ten years ago we were told to go out and play against Partizan and we were cannon fodder.”

Nomads will not be falling into the same trap against Savo Milosevic’s side a decade later.

“We have a structure and a strict way of playing,” said Horan of Andy Morrison’s well-drilled Nomads.

“We want to stay in the tie in the first-leg, but the hard part is doing that. We need to try and limit them to few chances.

“We know they’ve got some good players, but so did Kilmarnock, and hopefully we can stifle Partizan like we did Kilmarnock.”

And if Horan impresses against Partizan then his phone might be red-hot with offers of a big money move like Brophy.

Horan joked: “I’m still waiting for a call, but I think I’ve left it too late!”