Newcastle were drawn against Greek club Atromitos this afternoon at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, for a two legged tie to qualify for the Europa League group stage, and the two games will be played on Thursday nights, on August 23rd and August 30th.
Atromitos Football Club was founded in May, 1923, and is based in Peristeri in Athens, and they play in the Super League Greece, and last season they finished in a respectable 4th place.
They finished behind Champions Olympiacos, Panathinaikos and PAOK Salonika in that order, and were tied on 50 points with PAOK Salonika. Here’s the league table from last season.
Atromitos play in blue and white stripes with blue shorts and blue socks, and their Peristeri Stadium has a capacity of 10,200.
Newcastle were among 31 seeded sides for the draw in made in Switzerland at 12:30pm today, and in total, there are 62 teams in this round of the competition, and in the same draw Liverpool drew Hearts of Scotland.
Newcastle will play in Athens in the first leg, since Atromitos were first out of the hat, and then the second leg will be at St. James’ Park one week later.
Newcastle will have a tough first two weeks of the season with league games on August 18th (Tottenham home), August 25th (Chelsea away) and 2nd September (Aston Villa home), and with two Europa league ties squashed in between on August 23rd and August 30th against Atromitos.
So that’s 5 games in the first 15 days of the season for Newcastle, and it looks like Alan Pardew will rely on a number of fringe players and youngsters to ensure Newcastle qualify for the groups stages of the tournament.
Players likely to play in the Europa league are Steve Harper, James Perch, James Tavernier, Haris Vuckic, Mehdi Abeid, Gael Bigirimana, Romain Amalfitano and Sammy Ameobi, if he’s fit.
We must get through this qualifying round to get to the group stages of the competition.
Comments always welcome.