Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says he fully expects to take on Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night despite the Portuguese side’s COVID-19 problems.

The Dons are heading into their third round Europa League qualifier having beaten Viking Stavanger of Norway 2-0 in the second round.

Viking Stavanger v Aberdeen - UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round

Aberdeen stood tall. (Photo by Andrew Halseid-Budd/Getty Images)

Having won six on the spin heading into their weekend home tie with Motherwell, McInnes’ men were sent back to earth with a thud. Three first half goals from Stephen Robinson’s side sealed an impressive 3-0 victory for the Steelmen.

But for the Dons, it was a game to write off as they look for another big result in the Europa League. Whilst Sporting will still be strong favourites, they are dealing with some virus issues.

Several of their players are having to isolate as per the UEFA guidelines on dealing with COVID-19. Four members of their coaching staff, including manager Ruben Amorim, will have to miss the match. It leaves assistant Emanuel Ferro in charge for Thursday night.

Sporting CP v Real Valladolid CF - Pre Season Friendly

Their boss will be missing. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Whilst doubts remain about the contest, McInnes is still confident his side will still encounter tough opposition in the Portuguese heat.

“We are expecting the game to be played,” the Dons boss said (Aberdeen). “They have got a huge squad to choose from. We look forward to it.

“Since the manager has come in they have stuck with the same system so we can probably second guess the system they are going to play but in terms of personal we will not have a clue in terms of the team they will put out. We won’t know until the team line comes in.

“A club like Sporting are not going to have bad players hanging about. They are going to have a level of player who are pushing the first team, the majority of their first team players will be involved. It might disrupt them but it doesn’t make it any less of a tougher opponent bearing in mind the size of their club.

“We have to trust the authorities, UEFA and the medical teams. No one is going to endanger other clubs and therefore putting us at risk and the rest of the country at risk. I think these sorts of decisions will be made for the right reasons. If the authorities think it is right and safe to play the game, then we play the game.”

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