Europa nail-biter

18th July 2013

Swansea City will enter the rare realms of the Europa League at midday on Friday when the third qualifying round draw is made in Switzerland.
And manager Michael Laudrup has vowed to enter the competition with the goal of progressing as far as they possibly can, despite the ever-increasing demands of the Barclays Premier League.
"We take every competition seriously - and that includes Europe,'' he declared. "We proved that last season by winning the Capital One Cup, progressing well in the FA Cup before being knocked out by Arsenal in a replay, plus a ninth-placed finish in the Premier League.
"We were always competitive and with the players we've now got in the current squad then whatever team I pick it will be exactly the same. The players will be competitive.
"There is a lot of competition in the squad and I would have thought that everyone who plays will want to do well and impress.
"It will be difficult to get into the group stages, but if we can progress then you never know how far we can go.''
The Swans will be one of 29 seeded teams along with the likes of Udinese, St Etienne, Sevilla, Stuttgart and Wilfried Bony's former club Vitesse Arnhem.
There is also a strong possibility that the club will not know for certain who they are up against even after the draw takes place, because the second qualifying round ties have not yet been played to a conclusion, with the second-legs taking place next Thursday.
While the Swans could draw the likes of Welsh Premier League side Prestatyn, Scottish Premier League pair Motherwell or Hibernian, or Northern Irish side Linfield, other destinations include Greece, Turkey, Denmark and a host of Eastern Europe destinations.
If the Swans get through the two-legged third qualifying round, then the Swans also face a two-legged play-off game before the group stage.
"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have to travel too far,'' added Laudrup. "But I know there are a lot of Eastern European countries in there, so we'll have to wait and see.''

Europa League third qualifying round seeded teams: Swansea City, Stuttgart, Sevilla, Udinese, Club Brugge, St Etienne, FC Zurich, Rapid Vienna, Metallurg Donetsk, Estoril, Vitesse Arnhem, Kuban Krasnodar, Jagodina/Rubin Kazan, KR/Standard Liege, Beroe Stara Zagora/Hapoel Tel Aviv, Sparta Prague/Hacken, Honk/Lech Poznan, Trabzonspor/Derry City, Dila Gori/AaB, Anorthosis/Gefle, Rosenborg/St Johnstone, Olimpija Ljubljana/Zilina, Differdange 03/Utrecht, Maccabi Haifa/Khazar Lankaran, Breiðablik/Sturm Graz, Astra Giurgiu/Omonia, Chornomorets Odesa/ Dacia Chisinau, Strømsgodset/Debrecen, Hajduk Split/Turnovo

Unseeded teams: Asteras Tripolis, Randers, Motherwell, Kasimpasa, Jablonec, Hapoel Ramat Gan, Red Star Belgrade/IV, Skonto/Slovan Liberec, Thun/Chikhura Sachkhere, Slask Wroclaw/Rudar Pljevlja, Xanthi/Linfield, Ventspils/Jeunesse Esch, Tromso/InterBaku, Hodd/Aktobe, Dinamo Minsk/Lokomitva, Qarabag/Piast Gliwice, Vojvodina/Honved, Shakhtyor Salihorsk/ Milsami Orhei, Valletta/Minsk, Gothenburg/ Trencín, Malmo/Hibernian, Kukesi/Sarajevo, Rijeka/Prestatyn, Petrolul Ploiesti/Vikingur, Levadia Tallinn/Pandurii Târgu Jiu, Mladost Podgorica/Senica, Zalgiris Vilnius/Pyunik, Zrinjski Mostar/Botev Plovdiv, Irtysh Pavlodar/Široki Brijeg

We'll bring you the draw and reaction on Friday afternoon . . .