'We'll be well prepared no matter who we play' - Drogheda United boss Mick Cooke

The Drogs manager is keen to avoid a draw that necessitates an arduous journey but emphasised that his players would be ready to face any opposition in the Europa League qualifiers
Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke is hopeful that his team can progress when they contest the First Qualifying Round of the Uefa Europa League.

Having finished runners-up in the Airtricity Premier Division in 2012 Drogheda qualified for the Europa League and will enter the competition at the First Qualifying Round, the draw for which takes place on Monday June 24.

The Drogs are unseeded for the draw, meaning they could find themselves paired with clubs such as Norwegian giants Rosenborg or Bulgarian outfit Levski Sofia, who qualified for the group stage of the 2006-07 Champions League. And Cooke has admitted that he would like to be drawn against a team of similar stature to his own.

"Obviously you want a team where you think you have a chance of going through to the second round," said the Drogheda boss. "There's such a variety of teams there. There's teams such as Rosenborg and Malmo and it would be fantastic to play the likes of them, but I feel if we had a draw against a team somewhere around our own standard it would give us a chance to get through to the next round."

Cooke acknowledged that progression in the competition was important not only because it would be beneficial to Drogheda United, but because it would help raise the Uefa co-efficient of the Airtricity Premier Division, which dictates seeding.

He said: "Just for ourselves it would be great to get through but also if you can get to the next round it helps the co-efficiency for the league. So it's important to get a result, get to the second round and then maybe get a bigger team."

However, the former Monaghan United manager admitted that he would like to avoid a draw that necessitates a long journey to "far away places", but stressed that his players would be prepared regardless of the opposition.

"I'd look forward to it but the ideal draw would obviously be nearer home. But if you have to go to Asia or some of these far away places...I believe there’s one up in Norway, up in the Arctic Circle.

"You certainly don't want to be going there, but if you have to do it, you have to do it. We'll be well prepared no matter who we go to play," concluded Cooke.