Dutch tour ideal for Hibs, says John Hughes

HIBS manager John Hughes insists his squad's pre-season tour to Holland will be the perfect warm-up for their Europa League bow.

The Easter Road side will head for Arnhem next month and have fixed up four friendlies against Dutch top-flight opposition ahead of their return to front line European competition for the first time in five years.

Hughes' outfit face Eredivisie sides Heracles, NEC Nijmegen, Den Haag and Vitesse Arnhem before entering the Europa League in the third qualifying round on 29 July.

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And Hughes, who studied for his Uefa coaching badges in the Netherlands, is thrilled with the way his club's preparations are shaping up. He said: "There's been a lot of work done in terms of the pre-season and they are good games we are playing. We are playing against real good, class opposition.

"It will be a right good test but a test we need before we go into the European competition. I've been over to Holland so many times. I like the way they go and play their football, I like the systems they play, and the games we will be playing will be very, very tough.

"In pre-season you try and get fit and it's about injury-prevention. You try and mould the team, you try all different tactics and formations and build up the fitness to try and get off to a right good start in the season."

Hibs have also organised friendlies against Dunfermline, Queen of the South, Carlisle United and Blackpool in a packed pre-season schedule.