New Fulham manager Martin Jol will not be taking minnows NSI Runavik lightly when the two sides meet in the Europa League on Thursday.
The abnormally early start to the season comes due to Fulham’s participation in the first round of qualifying for the Europa League, after they topped the 2010/11 English Premier League Fair Play standings.
And while the club from Faroe Islands will be living the dream as they face Premier League opposition at Craven Cottage, Jol is not assuming that things will be easy.
“You can’t take it (Thursday’s match) lightly,” Jol told Fulham’s official website.
“It’s a European game and I think all the lads want to prove themselves. It’s a bit early in the season but I don’t see it being a problem. You play football to play in Europe and test yourself at that level.”
“We’ve got a couple of scouts in the Faroe Islands and they’ve provided us with some good footage.”
NSI Runavik finished third in the Faroe Islands Premier League last season and their team is made of largely of semi-professional players.
Jol, who only recently succeeded Mark Hughes as Fulham boss, also sang the praises of the club’s playing group for their attitude towards training and revealed that he may look to some of the Cottagers’ younger players to make a mark in Thursday’s first leg.
“I have to say they’re (the players) a fine bunch of lads,” he said.
“They work hard every day with smiles on their faces. The boys are quite fit and they’ve been very professional. They did their fitness programmes over the summer and we’ve tested them over the last four or five days. Bobby Zamora, who came in two days ago, looks really fit.”
“I can involve them all (on Thursday night) and there will be one or two younger players involved, even in the line-up.”