Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley says his underdogs will play with no fear against Connah’s Quay Nomads this evening.
The Aberdeen outfit are in North Wales to meet the Nomads in the third round of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup.
Their opponents made headlines earlier in the season when they dumped Angelo Alessio’s Kilmarnock out of the Europa League qualifying stage, something which Hartley says makes them, playing at home, favourites to progress.
However, Cove – who are undefeated and top of League Two in their first season in the SPFL – are gunning for victory against their Cymru Premier rivals.
Hartley, pictured, said: “We’re going there to try to win. We’ll have no fear of Connah’s Quay.
“We’re looking forward to it.
“They are a very strong outfit, are very aggressive in their play and have a certain style – as Kilmarnock found out.
“They’ll be at you and are very fit with some good players.
“We’re under no illusions. We’re the underdogs going into the game, we’re away from home and it’s a long journey for us.
“But our preparation will still be the same.”
Cove will be missing Aberdeen loanee Chris Antoniazzi, who is cup tied. But the club’s support over travel and accommodation arrangements will give Hartley’s team a greater chances of victory, according to the gaffer.
The part-time squad left the Balmoral Stadium at lunchtime yesterday, ensuring they could get a proper night’s rest near Nomads’ Deeside Stadium.
Hartley said: “I knew straight away it was what I wanted to do. It’s very important.
“I know the commitment and sacrifices the players have to make with their jobs outside of football.
“But we felt it was right to approach it correctly.
“We left at lunchtime which made sure we arrived at a reasonable time and the players got a good rest ahead of tonight.
“Not every club would do that, but it’s the right approach for us.
“We’ll stay tonight (as well). It’s a late kick-off and we felt it’s better to get the proper recovery and leave tomorrow.”
This evening’s game is significant as it’s Cove’s – and some of the players’ – first game outside of Scotland.
It will be shown on Wales’ S4C – the first time the Aberdeen club have had a game televised live.
Hartley is optimistic his squad will “put on a show” for those tuning in who’ve never heard of Cove.
He said: “Hopefully because we’re getting a lot of plaudits just now for playing well and playing good football.
“We’ll be new to a lot of people tonight, but we want to put on a show for ourselves – everybody involved in Cove – and show we’re a good outfit.
“It’s a great tie.”