Hughes confident of UEFA Cup success

July 2, 2008

Manager Mark Hughes is confident EB Streymur will present few obstacles to Manchester City's UEFA Cup dream.

City have been paired with the Faroe Island minnows in the first qualifying round of the competition after their entry through the Fair Play League.

And while the journey is not one Hughes would have chosen, particularly as teams from both sides of the Irish border - as well as a couple from Wales - were still in the hat when City's name came out, he expects to ease through.

'Obviously, the strength of their league is nowhere near the Premier League, so you would like to think we would progress,' said Hughes. 'Technically, we will be far and away the better side so you would expect that to be enough.'

While City have never been to the Faroe Islands before and new arrival Jo probably does not even know where it is, Hughes has experienced the unique nature of the country before.

As a player he was part of a Wales squad who won there. And he has still not forgotten the journey.

'It is a long trek to a place many people probably don't know a lot about,' he told the club's website. 'I actually had the experience of playing there with the Wales team a few years back.

'It was quite interesting with a lot of trips on little boats to cross expanses of water, so logistically it will be a challenge to everybody.'

The one area Hughes accepts EB Streymur will be in better shape than his own is in their levels of fitness.

It is something the former Blackburn boss is acutely aware of, although it is hardly likely to mean the second leg, at Barnsley's Oakwell ground on July 31, is competitive.

'We have a little bit of information on them already and the one worry is the levels of fitness,' he said. 'At Blackburn, we had experience of the UEFA Cup at this stage of the season and it can be difficult.

'The fitness factor does come into play just because the teams you face at this stage invariably are in the middle of their season.

'I think the team we are going to face from the Faroes will have played 13 games by the time we do meet them so they are ahead of us in fitness terms.'