EUROPA LEAGUE: Low reckons Derry City can 'Nick' a result in Denmark
NICKY LOW is under no illusions about how big a challenge Derry City face in their Europa League first round first leg clash tonight. (k.o. 7p.m)
However, the Scot reckons the Candy Stripes are more than capable of pulling off a monumental shock against their Danish hosts.
Kenny Shiels' troops face a daunting trip to the MCH Arena in Herning to face 2015 Danish Super Liga champions, FC Midtijylland in the first leg and are priced as 12/1 outsiders to clinch an unlikely away win against a team boasting the services of Dutch ace, Rafael van der Vaart.
The Danes who finished fourth in the Danish top division last season, have enjoyed recent successes against Southampton and Manchester United, in the competition and were the second highest ranked of the 100 teams at its initial stage.
It was one of the toughest draws the Foylesiders could have faced but Low - who handed Shiels a boost by agreeing to extend his loan deal from Dundee until the end of the League of Ireland campaign - is relishing the challenge and is hoping to keep the tie alive going into the return leg at the Sligo Showgrounds next Thursday.
"We're under no illusions about how hard of a test it's going to be," said the Greenock native who has clocked up 16 league appearances for Derry since joining on an initial six month loan from Dens Park in January. "But by no means are we going there for a jolly-up or thinking we're going to get turned over.
"The squad and our management and everyone involved at the club have high ambitions of going on a European run. If all the players who are lucky enough to play on the night turn up then we have a chance. We're not thinking we're going over there to get battered that's for sure."
Derry will be a unknown quantity for the Danes and the fact they are midway through their SSE Airtricity League campaign while Midtiylland's season concluded more than two weeks ago, may play to their advantage.
However, Low knows only too well how difficult it will be to get a positive result in Denmark. "I'm sure they've done their homework and watched videos of us. But we have players who are very good in possession - that's our main strength. It's going to be tough but in Europe you get a bit of time on the ball and I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to get over there and get on the pitch."
The 25 year-old midfielder regards himself as one of the most senior players in Shiels' youthful squad and having been part of Aberdeen's memorable Europa League journey in 2014 which saw the Dons come so close to reaching the group stages, he believes that experience will stand him in good stead.
The SPL outfit earned wins over Latvian side, FK Daugava Riga before taking the scalp of FC Groningen with a shock 2-1 win in the Netherlands. However, they were denied a famous win over Spanish Primera Liga club, Real Sociedad in the third qualifying round as they went down fighting, losing 2-3 at Pittodrie.
"We got a really tough draw against FC Gronnigen in the second round," he recalled. "We played at home and it was 0-0 and before the return leg their manager did an interview with the press and said they felt they were 99 per cent through.
"We were up for the game anyway but that gave us an edge to go and get the result and we secured a 2-1 win away from home. They treated us with a bit of disrespect and that got us going a bit.
"Derry are also massive underdogs going into this first leg but hopefully we can get a positive result to take back to Sligo for our home leg.
"I feel like I'm one of the more experienced players anyway because we've got such a young team," added the Scot. "I try and help the young players in training and during matches and speak a lot to try to organise things.
"Having played in Europe before that will help me and the team as well but it will be a very hard game against Midtijylland who are a very good team with really good players and a team full of internationals."