Ryan Edmondson insists he is ready for his baptism of fire as he prepares to make his Europa League debut in Aberdeen’s biggest game of the season on Thursday.
The Dons face Sporting Clube de Portugal in Lisbon in the third qualifying round of the Europa League as they bid to reach the play-off round for the first time in seven attempts for manager Derek McInnes.
It’s a huge match for Aberdeen and Leeds United striker Edmondson, who has joined the club on loan from the Championship winners, but the forward believes he is ready for challenge.
He said: “I am still young and I have had a lot of different experiences.
“Sporting away in the Europa League qualifiers is a very big game, especially for a 19-year-old lad.
“I will embrace that, take it in. No doubt it won’t hinder my performance because I seem to thrive through pressure.
“It is a massive game and a pressure but I am sure I can deal with it if the gaffer puts me in to play. I am in no doubt I won’t let him down. I am hoping for a goal.”
Sporting will be missing several players due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the club while new manager Ruben Amorim is also self-isolating after testing positive last week and Edmondson hopes the Dons can take advantage of their weakened opponents.
He said: “There is all the Covid stuff going on and they’ll have a lot of boys missing and hopefully we can capitalise on because it will be a massive hindrance to their squad.
“We have a full squad pretty much and we played well up to Sunday so hopefully we can switch things around and take advantage of what we have got and get a result.”
Edmondson has returned well ahead of schedule after initial fears he would be sidelined for at least another month and the teenager is determined to use his quick return to show why Dons boss Derek McInnes was so keen to get him on board.
He said: “With the injury I thought I would be out for a long time, so it is good to be back up in Aberdeen and playing.
“I got 45 minutes under my belt and I feel good. It wouldn’t be the worst game to be involved in against Lisbon and hopefully I can be involved.
“It will be a great experience not only for me but the rest of the lads as well.
“I felt my performance against Rangers was a good start but then I picked up the training injury. It was a major blow to me because I was really enjoying my time.
“I was lucky to get back fit, injury-free and hopefully I can remain like that as long as I am here.”