JACK ROSS has admitted Dundee United face a daunting Europa Conference League third round playoff.
The Tangerines will face either AZ Alkmaar or Bosnian side Tuzla City.
Alkmaar will be big favorites to progress and United will send scouts into the first leg between the teams this Thursday in the Netherlands.
United haven’t played in Europe since the 2012/13 season, when they were knocked out of the Europa League by Dynamo Moscow.
Alkmaar, by comparison, reached the round of 16 in the Conference League last season.
Ross said: “I think we knew we would face tough opposition because we didn’t have a seed.
“When you look at the caliber of the teams that are seeded and aiming to qualify for the group stage, the level is very high. And AZ are certainly a team with a strong European pedigree.
“Without a doubt, the advantage is that pulling a Dutch team is not too far away, between two Premiership matches.
“It’s also important to talk about what this draw does for the fans. If AZ progress from their tie, then that’s probably the best case scenario for them in terms of their number trip.
“So there is a potential for a very difficult draw but also a very good draw for the club and its supporters.
“It’s exciting to be part of the draw.
“For our supporters, it’s been several years since they’ve been to Europe and this opportunity to follow your club in Europe – especially for a team with such a strong European pedigree – is great.
“But it’s also about wanting to stay in this competition for as long as possible, no matter what caliber of opposition we face.”
United have only made three signings so far this summer.
Dylan Levitt, Steven Fletcher and Craig Sibbald added some much-needed depth to Ross’ team.
But the United boss is keen to bring in more bodies.
He said: “To tell the truth, we have a lot of work to do before this game, and it would have been the case no matter who we drew.
“It captured the imagination of the fans but, for me, first and foremost we have a pre-season to complete. It continues with Fleetwood on Saturday and then we have the league opener at Kilmarnock. I I’ll think about those.
“But whatever the draw, I think we have a bit of work to do to make sure we’re as strong as possible when the window closes at the end of August.
“We will have someone in Alkmaar on Thursday, which is really positive. It gives us the opportunity to see both teams in action, to be one step ahead of the advancing team. It’s much easier with the game taking place in the Netherlands at such short notice.