Dundee United’s much anticipated European adventure begins tonight when taking on AEK Athens at Tannadice.
A near capacity attendance is expected as the Arabs return into Europe for the first time in five years. Manager Peter Houston will be keen to make home advantage count if possible, knowing the kind of task his brave charges are likely to face in the away leg next week.
“I would take a 0-0 ? I really would. That would mean we had something to hold on to,” Arabs manager Peter Houston told The Courier. “Ideally a 1-0 or 2-0 victory would be fantastic, but it is going to be difficult. We are going out there to try to make sure we don’t lose any goals but I am not going to sit in and regret it, saying to myself, ‘I wish I had attacked more.’ If I never gave it a go I would feel let down myself and feel I had let the players down by not having a wee pop.”
“They are a very dangerous team from free-kicks and corner kicks,” AEK coach Dusan Bajevic told The Courier. “Generally they are a very strong and quick team. I cannot speak about specific players, but the centre-forward is a very good player. In my opinion, the thing that makes them stronger is the fact they clearly play as a team. They fight until the last minute. This is the strength and power of Dundee United.”
Dundee United Team News:
Midfielder Danny Swanson has overcome an Achilles problem and could be involved at some level. Francisco Sandaza is definitely out of contention as he is currently on trial at Swansea City.
Dundee United (from): Pernis, Dillon, Dods, Watson, Kenneth, Dixon, Douglas, Swanson, Buaben, S. Robertson, D Robertson, Gomis, Conway, Daly, Myrie-Williams, Cadamarteri, Shala, Casalinuovo, Russell, Banks, Mentel
Player to watch: Jon Daly
Proud skipper and sure to be leading right from the front.
AEK Athens Team News:
AEK will be missing defender Daniel Majstorovic following his transfer to Celtic this week. Skipper Nikos Liberopoulos will lead their side and be supported by the likes of the Brazilian, Leonardo, Australian Nathan Burns or Rafik Djebbour. Meanwhile, Pantelis Kafes and Papa Bouba Diop are set to be charged with running their midfield areas, and Savvas Gentsoglou is similarly regarded as another vital performer.
Player to watch: Savvas Gentsoglou
One of the key players identified by Arabs boss Peter Houston, in addition to midfielders Pantelis Kafes and Papa Bouba Diop.
Match Facts & Stats
Dundee United will be aiming to get to the Europa League group stages for the first time.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle (H)