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Derek McInnes looking forward to having Niall McGinn back in Aberdeen ranks

Published 27/06/2016

Niall McGinn is going from one European competition to another
Niall McGinn is going from one European competition to another

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admits Niall McGinn is too important to leave out of their Europa League opener - which falls five days after the Northern Ireland forward saw his European Championship dream end.

McGinn will arrive back in Scotland 24 hours after saying goodbye to his international team-mates.

The 28-year-old came off the bench as Northern Ireland lost 1-0 to Wales in the last 16 on Saturday and his attentions will immediately turn to Aberdeen's first leg against Fola Esch of Luxembourg in the Europa League first qualifying round on Thursday.

McInnes told RedTV: "Obviously Northern Ireland's disappointment is our gain.

"He is our player and we are looking forward to getting him back. They fly back to Belfast on Monday and Niall will be with us on Tuesday.

"I'm looking forward to getting him back because there is no doubt he is a very important player for us."

The Dons will also have new signing Anthony O'Connor available after he arrived from Burton Albion on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Irishman can play in defence or midfield and was allowed to move on from Burton following their promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

The former Blackburn and Plymouth player got his first taste of action with Aberdeen in a 3-0 friendly win at Brechin on Sunday.

McInnes said: "Anthony hadn't even trained but he showed even in the short period of time he was on the pitch, with his range of passing, composure, aggression, that he will be someone who is very popular with the fans and someone who will do very well for us."

Ash Taylor, Jonny Hayes, Kenny McLean and Callum Morris did not feature at Glebe Park but McInnes is confident he will have no injury concerns for Thursday's first let at Pittodrie.

The only likely absentee is summer signing Miles Storey, who is yet to join up with the Dons following the end of his deal at Swindon.

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