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Derek McInnes still expecting tough test as Aberdeen face depleted Sporting side

Aberdeen v NSI Runavik – UEFA Europa League – First Qualifying Round – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes expects Thursday’s encounter against Sporting in Lisbon to be no less difficult despite their hosts’ coronavirus crisis.

Sporting have lost nine players to positive Covid-19 tests and manager Ruben Amorim will also miss the game because he is self-isolating.

Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League third qualifying round, McInnes said: “We expect the game to be played regardless of who we’re playing. We know who the players are. They’ve got a huge squad to choose from.

“The manager since he went in has stuck with a system so we can second guess the system that they will play.

“But in terms of personnel we won’t have a clue of the team they’ll put out. We’ll have some sort of idea, but we won’t really know until the team lines come in.

“A club like Sporting aren’t going to have bad players hanging about. They’ll have a level of player that’s pushing to get into the first team.

“The majority of the first team will be involved and it will be a tough game for us.

“It might disrupt them but I don’t think it makes them any less of a tough opponent, bearing in mind the size of their squad.”

McInnes brushed aside concerns about playing Sporting, who have been training with the unaffected members of their squad in the Algarve.

“I think we’ve got to trust the authorities and UEFA and the medical teams,” said McInnes, who will again be without the injured Matty Kennedy.

“Nobody is going to endanger other clubs and therefore put us at risk and the country at risk coming back here.

“These decisions will be made for the right reasons and if the authorities think it’s safe then we play the game.”