Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes hopes his team’s different attacking options can fire the Dons to the group stages of the Europa League this season.
Last season’s leading scorer Adam Rooney scored and played another 45 minutes in the friendly win at East Fife on Sunday as he continued his return from a thigh injury.
The forward is close to being ready to start games for his side again, while Jayden Stockley scored twice as Rooney’s replacement at Bayview.
With new signing Miles Storey also impressing on his debut at the weekend, McInnes has options in attack which could prove significant both in this round and in the season ahead.
The Aberdeen manager said: “Miles is a bit short of fitness because he’s only had 60 minutes against East Fife but it’s good to have another option.
“We have been too reliant on Adam in the past and it hit home when he got injured last season. A club like Aberdeen should have more options, other clubs have it, so we are delighted to have brought in Miles and Jayden Stockley.
“Jayden has really impressed me so far, he brings a physical presence to the team.
“In the past we have been dominated physically a bit at the top end of the pitch but he will get things going our way. He’s dangerous in the box, good in the air, has great movement and feeds off crosses.
“He adds something different to the team and, along with Miles, we have a good mix there now.
“Both will be very important to us.”
The European journey continues for Aberdeen against Ventspils at Pittodrie but McInnes does not expect a one-sided encounter tonight.
The Dons put eight past their last Latvian opponents Daugava Riga without reply two years ago but McInnes has already warned Paul Ashworth’s players are a considerable improvement on their counterparts.
Luxembourg side Fola Esch sounded a warning last week when they came close to upsetting the Dons in the first qualifying round, taking advantage of a poor Aberdeen display to win 1-0 but still went out 3-2 on aggregate.
With the Latvians well into their domestic season McInnes knows his side cannot afford to be caught out again.
He said: “They have a very good home record and, although they lost that last weekend, that’s the sign of a confident team.
“The tie won’t be decided on this first leg, it will be decided across there, so the aim is for two positive performances.
“We have been to teams before who have strong home records but managed to get the result. You need strong performances home and away in this competition, both ties deserve an equal amount.”
Aberdeen’s task has been made all the more challenging given the fact Ventspils have played 13 league matches already this season.
McInnes knows that hands them an upperhand but he is confident his players can overcome the challenge they face tonight.
He said: “Being 15 games into their season is an advantage but we know coming into the competition we will face teams in that situation.
“We can’t bridge the gap between a team which hase played that many games and one that has played just two. But we can’t make it an issue, we have to do all we can and be confident in our own fitness and ability.
“It is a challenge for us but we can’t use it as a reason not to go through – and we won’t.”