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Jul 23, 2014

Dons leaving no stone unturned

FC GroningenFC Groningen
AberdeenAberdeen
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
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Derek McInnes revealed he ordered his Aberdeen players to practice penalties as he leaves nothing to chance ahead of their Europa League return against Groningen.

The Dons were held to a goalless draw by the Dutch outfit at Pittodrie last Thursday in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie.

And the League Cup winning boss has ensured his men are prepared in case another blank stalemate requires spot-kicks to find a winner.

"It's very finely poised," he told BBC Scotland. "Nil-nil wasn't the perfect result for us at home, but it's not a bad result either,

"It's very important not to concede at home. It's game on and both teams will feel they can win this tie.

"We have practised penalties. We have a team who are fit and strong and we feel they can play 120 minutes if need be, even at this stage of the season. We'll be ready to do whatever it takes to try to get the result."

Should Aberdeen overcome last year's Dutch play-off winners, they will take on Spanish giants Real Sociedad.

And Reds manager McInnes is confident of his side's chances of doing that after they avoided gifting Groningen an away goal in the Granite City.

"We won at every league ground last season bar one and had a lot of big results as an away team," he said.

"We're very confident playing away from home.

"I certainly feel we can create chances and we can certainly score - if we can score, it's huge advantage for us."

He added: "It will take a big performance from us to progress, but it's certainly not beyond us.

"I've read comments from Groningen players that they feel they are 80 per cent through and, if that's what they think, that's what they think, but from our point of view, it's finely poised.

"I don't expect them to take us lightly and, if they do, they'll be out of the tournament.

"I feel there's mutual respect there, you won't get any of my players dismissing Groningen, they're a good side, but we're confident in our abilities."

Aberdeen will not be able to call on new signing Jeffrey Monakana as the 20-year-old is ineligible following his loan move from Brighton.

Clark Robertson is still absent as he continues to work with the physios to continue his rehabilitation following knee surgery but boss Derek McInnes has no fresh injuries ahead of the return.

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