Everton have nothing to fear in Russia - McGeady
01 October 2014, 12:55
Paris - Everton winger Aiden McGeady's experience of Russian football gives him reason to be confident as the Toffees travel to face FC Krasnodar in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
The Premier League club have had a slow start to their domestic campaign but were buoyed by their 1-1 draw with Liverpool in last weekend's Merseyside derby and are now looking to make it two wins out of two in Group H.
Roberto Martinez's side were impressive 4-1 winners against Wolfsburg in their opening game two weeks ago, while Krasnodar are in their first ever European campaign and started with a 1-1 draw in Lille.
"It'll be a tough game. Going away to these places in Europe, in the Europa League especially, they are never easy," Ireland star McGeady, who moved to Goodison Park in January after spending three and a half years with Spartak Moscow, told Everton TV.
"But I think we have enough quality to get out of this group easily enough and get as far as we can."
McGeady, 28, added that Everton need not expect an especially intimidating atmosphere in southern Russia.
"Krasnodar isn't a massive football city. The stadium is your typical old Soviet stadium -- running track around it, quite far away from the pitch. It's not really a hostile environment."
Kevin Mirallas is on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and Martinez fears that the problem, which forced him off against Liverpool, could be more serious than first feared.
"It's not normal when Kevin Mirallas feels something like that and has to come off in the game. We know then that it is something serious," said the Spaniard, who confirmed that tests have been ongoing to determine the exact nature of the injury.
Everton were also sweating on Seamus Coleman, Sylvain Distin and Steven Pienaar for the game, while Wolfsburg and Lille meet in the other match in the group. Besiktas back in London
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur entertain Besiktas at White Hart Lane also encouraged by their performance in a derby, in their case last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Besiktas have already visited north London this season -- Slaven Bilic's side were edged out by Arsenal in the play-offs for a place in the Champions League group stage.
They are unbeaten in the Turkish Super League so far but only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Greek side Asteras Tripolis in their opening game in Group C.
"If we play the same way we did at Arsenal, we should have no problems but we need to repeat that performance," said Spurs defender Younes Kaboul, whose side drew 0-0 with Partizan Belgrade last time out.
"We have set the tone. From the first whistle, we showed we wanted to do something."
However, their chances of gaining momentum may not be helped if manager Mauricio Pochettino chooses, as expected, to rotate his squad with one eye on this weekend's match with Southampton in the Premier League.
Scottish champions Celtic also drew their opening group game, in their case a 2-2 stalemate in Austria against Salzburg, despite twice taking the lead.
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Ronny Deila's side are currently five points off the pace in the Scottish Premiership, albeit with a game in hand, but while domestic success is obligatory for the Hoops, Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk has also urged his team-mates to go on a run as they prepare to host Dinamo Zagreb in Glasgow.
"It's very important for us to put together a good run in the Europa League," he said.
"We started well against Salzburg and if we're full of confidence and play well then we can go through into the next round."
However, Croatian champions Dinamo started their Group D campaign in ominous fashion, crushing Romanian side Astra Giurgiu 5-1.
Among the pick of the ties elsewhere on Thursday, two-time former UEFA Cup winners Feyenoord host Standard Liege in Rotterdam in Group G, while another Dutch side, PSV Eindhoven, go to Dinamo Moscow in Group E.
And in Group F, Saint-Etienne take on Ukrainian league leaders Dnipro while Inter Milan entertain Qarabag, the outsiders from Azerbaijan.