Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes HNK Rijeka will not be intimidated by the challenge of needing to score at least three goals to keep their European hopes alive tonight.
The Croatians have arrived in the Granite City in need of something special after a 3-0 home defeat to the Dons at Kantrida Stadium last week.
McInnes claimed the fact Rijeka almost scored twice in the opening exchanges a week ago and have arrived with nothing to lose makes them dangerous opponents.
Rijeka have won just four of their last 20 away European matches but McInnes said: “The thought of scoring three goals won’t faze them. We were good enough to make the most of our opportunities and they will be thinking it would be nice to do something similar.
“Last week was a result that probably shocked most people. The bookies don’t often get it wrong.
“Rijeka were huge favourites for the game, and rightly so. We were underdogs to go through in the tie but a lot of what we did last week was very good.
“Now is not the time for pats on the back. The job is not done. Let’s hope we can do it over two games.
“Like any team who have the quality Rijeka have, we have still got to bring a performance and do what we did last week again.
“I expect a spirit from Rijeka and an effort to show the tie isn’t over.
“Their pedigree in European football suggest that they aren’t going to just roll over.
“They have been a successful team over the last few seasons and their approach will be to go for an early goal. But in any game at home we have to try to impose ourselves.”
The Dons are expecting a crowd of around 16,000 for tonight’s tie and McInnes wants Peter Pawlett to unsettle Rijeka in the same way he did in Croatia with late runs into the box and ability to drive at players helping him score one terrific diving header and have another goal ruled out for offside.
The Dons manager said: “Peter found a role in the team two seasons ago playing in and around the main attacker from the central positions.
“He hadn’t played that role as he’d always been classed as a wide player due to his pace. He can do that out wide, but he can get closer to goal.
“He had that element of surprise and was really effective for us.
“Last season he still had some really good moments for us. He needs to keep developing his role, but he has pace to burn.
“His performance last week was excellent, as was the bits and pieces from the bench in the games against Shkendija in the first round.
“Peter has carried that threat we want from him and he can be pleased with his efforts so far, hopefully he can build on those performances this season.
“He has got so much to offer us, but he’s still got a lot to learn to define his role.”
Aberdeen have taken former Swansea City defender Thomas Atyeo on trial.
The 19-year-old Welsh central defender is a free agent after his release from the Premiership club and featured for Paul Sheerin’s under-20 squad in their 3-0 win at Nairn County on Tuesday.