Aberdeen v FK Daugava: McInnes happy with Euro tie

Derek McInnes is happy with his side's pairing with Daugava Riga of Latvia. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Derek McInnes is happy with his side's pairing with Daugava Riga of Latvia. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes is happy with their Latvian assignment in the Europa League.

The Dons will face Daugava Riga in the first qualifying round, with the first leg set to take place at Pittodrie on July 3 and Dutch side Groningen awaiting the winners.

Aberdeen played in the Latvian capital 20 years ago in the UEFA Cup, but were on the end of a shock exit at the hands of Skonto Riga in the second preliminary round, going out on away goals.

McInnes, though, is happy for the club to return.

“I think it is a decent draw,” he told Red TV. “It’s not too far or problematic in terms of travel and I’m sure the supporters will look at it that way as well. It is not the worst place for supporters to go as well.

“In terms of the actual game you are always up against a level of opposition that deserves respect.

“They are current seventh in the league and finished fourth last season. They are well into their season, they have played 17 league games so far.

“That will be the biggest difficulty, the fact we are up against a team who are well into their season, but that could have been the case for many of the teams.

“As I say though I think it is a decent draw and we just have to concentrate on our performance and make sure we are game-ready for it.”

Aberdeen have already begin their pre-season friendly programme with a 2-2 draw against League of Ireland champions St Patrick’s on Saturday and McInnes feels he can get enough information on Daugava, who recently announced the signing of two former Liverpool reserves - Senegalese left-back Emmanuel Mendy and Brazilian striker Vitor Flora.

“We can watch some of their recent games and familiarise ourselves with the players and their system of play. Once we are comfortable with that and have that knowledge we can then start to work out what the players need to know,” he said.

“They have a game Wednesday and a game Sunday so someone from the club will go and watch them, possibly myself.

“We know the boys will have to put in a strong performance to get through to the second round. We’re confident we can do that.”

On the draw for the next round, McInnes said: “We don’t want to comment too much on it because we have work to do. But that will be a tough tie if we manage to get through.”

Motherwell have confirmed they will play the first leg of their tie on July 17, with the second leg away seven days later.

They have happy memories of going to both countries in recent years having knocked out Llanelli in 2009 and Breidablik a year later.

Elsewhere, Derry City and or Aberystwyth Town have been paired together in the first round with the winners due to take on Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus.

Linfield will face AIK of Stockholm if they beat Faroese side B36 Torshavn, Dundalk have the incentive of a second-round clash with Hajduk Split if they beat Jeunesse Esch of Luxembourg and Sligo Rovers’ potential second-round opponents include Rosenborg if they beat Ekranas of Lithuania.

Glenavon take on FH Hafnarfjordur of Iceland and Airbus UK Broughton take on Norwegian side FK Haugesund in the first round.

Draw in full

Gyori ETO v IFK Gothenburg/CS Fola Esch

Neman v FH Hafnarfjordur/Glenavon

UE Sant Julia/FK Cukaricki v SV Grodig

Aberdeen/Daugava Riga v Groningen

SS Folgore/Buducnost Podgorica v Omonia Nicosia

Differdange 03/FK Atlantas v FC Shirak/Shakhter Karaganda

Derry City/Aberystwyth v Shakhtyor

Botev Plovdiv/Libertas v SKN St Polten

Molde v ND Gorica

Hapoel Beer Sheva v RNK Split/FC Mika

CFR Cluj v Jagodina

Bursaspor v Turnovo/Chikhura Sachkhere

Mlada Boleslav v Kabala/Siroki Brijeg

FK Sarajevo v Haugesund/Airbus UK

Ruch Chorzow v FC Vaduz/College Europa

Asteras Tripolis v RoPS

FK Lovcen/Zeljeznicar v UE Santa Coloma/Metalurg Skopje

Liberec v MFK Kosice

Motherwell v Stjarnan/Bangor City

Neftci v SL Koper/Celik

Luzern v St Johnstone

Zulte Waregem v Zawisza Bydgoszcz

Hapoel Tel-Aviv v Pyunik/FC Astana

Hajduk Split v Jeunesse Esch/Dundalk

Fram/JK Nomme Kalju v Lech Poznan

Vikingur/Daugava Daugavpils v Tartu FC Santos/Tromso

Hibernians/Spartak Trnava v Zestafoni

B36/Linfield v AIK

NK Rudar/Laci v Zorya Luhansk

Sillamae Kalev/Honka Espoo v FC Krasnodar

AS Trencin v Vojvodina

Kairat Almaty/FK Kukesi v Esbjerg

Dinamo Minsk v MyPa/IF Fuglafjordur

Petrolul Ploiesti v Sioni Bolnisi/KS Flamurtari

Crusaders/FK Ekranas v VPS/IF Brommapojkarna

HNK Rijeka v Sliema Wanderers/Ferencvaros

Rosenborg/Jelgava v Banga/Sligo Rovers

CSKA Sofia v FK Shkendija 79/FC Zimbru

Veris Chisinau/Litex Lovech v Diosgyor/Birkirkara

IF Elfsborg v FC Tiraspol/Inter Baku

Ties to be played 17 and 24 July