Date: 23rd June 2015 at 3:45pm
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Manager Derek McInnes has said that Aberdeen have picked up one of the toughest draws possible in the First Qualifying Round of the Europa League for this season.

Knowing that we face Macedonian side Shkendija on Thursday July 2 in the away leg before hosting them at Pittodrie on Thursday July 9, McInnes told the Official Site from the St Andrews pre season training camp.

‘We were eagerly anticipating the draw. I think we maybe got the toughest draw that we could have got from the group of teams we were paired with, without being disrespectful to the other teams. We had some tough draws last year and we have been given another one this season.’

McInnes admits that ‘naturally’ we didn’t know an awful lot about KF Shkendija but since the draw was made there had been plenty of beavering away in the background picking up information about them and what we can expect and he knows we have a task on our hands now given what he knows.

‘They are a decent team. They finished the season very strongly. They have qualified for Europe over the past couple of seasons. We have watched some clips of them already. My first impressions of them are that they are team who want to play. They have got good technical players. The majority of their team is made up of Macedonians. They have also got a couple of Brazilians in there and a few other nationalities.’

Of course the coming days before the first leg will reveal a lot more information about them and enable us to prepare properly in terms of a game plan, butt hat’s what it’s about at this stage of Europe it’s always an entry into the unknown.

‘The reason you are in Europe is to play against different opposition, different styles and experience different cultures. The players are looking forward to the game. As it stands the first leg is away from home and that is fine and we are adjusting our schedule. The important thing between now and then is making sure we are ready and also we know everything we need to know about them. We have a tough match and we need to make sure we are ready. They have already played a couple of pre-season friendlies so they are ahead of us.’

Whilst they may be a bit ahead of us in fitness terms, McInnes did reveal that the side played a behind closed doors game yesterday and of course our pre season work is well underway, so that’s not something we should be worried about as we knew it would be an earlier start to the season and we’ve obviously planned for that, so we should be up to speed by the time the game cycles around.

‘It will be a tough match. Like everything we have got confidence in ourselves. We will be ready physically and tactically once we get to know them. We have the ability and the confidence to hopefully get through the tie. I am reluctant to look further ahead than this game at the moment.’

The away leg has been switched to Skopje’s 33,000 capacity Philip II Arena as Shkendija’s own Gradski Stadium only holds 15,000 fans.


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