Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass has warned the race is on to earn a starting spot against BK Hacken in Europe.
The Dons begin their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign with a home clash against the Swedish team on Thursday 22 July.
Glass insists that every player now faces a battle to start the first leg of the second qualifying round in Pittodria.
The Reds stepped up their preparation for the Euro opener with a friendly 1-1 draw behind closed doors with Inverness Championship team Caley Thistle at Cormack Park.
It is hopes 2,000 supporters will be in Pittodria for the BK Hacken showdown – Glass’s first European meeting as manager of Aberdeen.
Glass said: “You will see the players really fighting for places against Hacken.
“It’s something we’re going to push anyway and the boys are getting fitter.
“You’ll see a different group reacting day in and day out from here to the Hacken match.”
BK Hacken left the foot of Sweden’s Allsvenskan this weekend with a 2-1 home loss to AIK.
It was the first competitive game for new manager Per-Mathias Hogmo, who took over the Gothenburg squad at the start of the Swedish summer break.
Now nine games into his league campaign, BK Hacken also reached the Swedish Cup final before losing in a penalty shootout to Hammarby.
Hacken is in action on Monday night with an Allsvenskan home game against Kalmar FF and Glass will be studying the footage closely.
The Swedes will also face fourth-placed Norrkoping on Sunday, July 18, just four days before playing against the Dons in Granite City.
BK Hacken strengthened his squad ahead of the Dons clash by signing Turin midfielder Samuel Gustafson to a three-year contract.
The 26-year-old former Sweden Under-21 international started his career at Hacken but returned to club Gothenburg after five years in Turin, where he was also on loan at Perugia, Hellas Verona and Cremonese.
Varmt välkommen hem, Samuel!
Läs mer om vårt senaste nyförvärv 👇
– BK Häcken (@bkhackenofcl) July 9, 2021
While BK Hacken has accumulated competitive actions, the Dons will take part in the Euro after three pre-season friendlies.
Friendlies will keep Aberdeen in tune
They will follow the draw with Inverness Caley Thistle with closed-door matches against Reading and St Johnstone on Friday July 16th.
Glass insists that friendlies will be key to leveling up the Dons for the Euro opener.
He said: “You can organize things as much as you want in the preseason, but the opponents come and want to do something different.
“This is the challenge you have to be prepared for.
“You have to find a way to impose your style and your way of playing.
“It’s important that we feel that over the next two weeks. “
Aberdeen has traditionally prepared for Europe by going to training camp and playing away friendlies.
In previous seasons, under former boss Derek McInnes and before the coronavirus pandemic, the Reds had used training facilities in the Republic of Ireland.
They had also made friendly pre-season tours to the Netherlands and the Netherlands under the guidance of former manager Craig Brown.
This summer, Glass chose to stay in the club’s bio-secure bubble in Cormack Park to minimize any threat of disruption from the coronavirus.
Isn’t glamor friendly the right choice?
All pre-season friendlies at the £ 13million training complex are also closed to supporters, meaning the The Red Army won’t see the new-look squad in action before BK Hacken’s draw.
Glass offered his first-team debut to summer rookies Christian Ramirez, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Scott Brown and Jack Gurr in the friendly draw against Inverness.
Other Scottish clubs involved in Europe in the coming season have opted for glamorous training camps and friendlies.
Premier League champions Rangers face Premier League Arsenal and Brighton at home and then Blackpool away before a glamorous match with Real Madrid at Ibrox on July 25.
Celtic traveled to a training camp in Wales and played friendlies against Sheffield on Wednesday, Bristol City, Preston and Premier League West Ham.
Hibs are another club that have chosen to train outside of Scotland, which are at a camp in Cheshire and will face Stoke City away and Premier League Arsenal at home.
Aberdeen will face Scotland’s other European representative, Scottish Cup and League Cup winners St Johnstone, next week.
Glass insists the option of forgoing going to training camp and playing glamorous friendlies is paying off.
He said, “The proof is in the pudding.
“Are you ready for the start of the season?
“It may be more glamorous to leave or with bigger games, but we managed to control the environment.
“We’ve only scratched the surface (against Inverness Caley Thistle) but everything is going well.
“We are happy with the decision to stay and I think it will be the right one. “
⚽️🔴 What does Aberdeen still need to strengthen its workforce this summer?
– Evening Express Sport (@ee_sport) July 9, 2021