Tommie Hoban believes Aberdeen can beat Viking FK in the Europa League this week – and win at third round opponents Sporting Club de Portugal.
A trip to Lisbon awaits the winners of Thursday’s second qualifying round tie in Stavanger and having helped his side record a fifth win in a row, courtesy of a 1-0 win against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie, Hoban believes the Dons are capable of winning both their second and third round matches.
Derek McInnes has never led an Aberdeen side to the play-off round but Hoban sees no reason why the seventh successive campaign cannot break new ground for the Dons boss.
He said: “Everyone has seen the draw. The game in Norway will be tough as they are well into their season and obviously the one after it is very exciting.
“If we can win on Thursday going to Lisbon will be incredible and there is no reason why we can’t get two wins and be one game away from reaching the group stages.
“I really do think it is very strong squad with competition for every position and that’s what you need for a successful team. Good teams I’ve been involved with have had that and I feel we’ve got that here.
“We’re focusing on the Norwegian game first and Viking will be very tough opposition but obviously we know if we get through it’s going to be a very tough game but anything can happen over 90 minutes.
“We’ve got attacking qualities and if we can keep the clean sheets going we’ll be confident.”
Former Watford defender Hoban has been a key figure in the last two matches but Dons boss McInnes is determined to manage the defender’s rehabilitation from a serious knee injury carefully.
Hoban, however, insists he is ready to play in Stavanager.
He said: “I wouldn’t say I can only play one game a week but at this stage that is probably the ideal scenario as I have been out so long but the more games I play, the more I train, the fitter I’ll get and I’ll be able to adapt. We’ve got a lot of big games coming up and I want to be available for all of them.
“I’m available for Thursday. I didn’t play against the Faroese team as I’d only played one game but I’ve played a couple more now. I don’t know what team the manager will pick as we have a very competitive squad and he could probably pick three or four teams to go out and win the game.
“I’m just trying to do my best to rest, recover and be ready for the next game.”
Hoban has signed until January but McInnes is keen to extend the defender’s deal, with the centre-back receptive to extending his stay at Pittodrie.
He said: “There’s nothing so far but I’m really enjoying my time here. I’ve made no secret of how grateful I am to the club giving me this opportunity and if something does come up we’ll see what happens.”