Asteras Tripolis are favourites, says Hibs boss Neil Lennon

Hibs boss Neil Lennon reckons Asteras Tripolis are the favourites ahead of their Europa League qualifier.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 4:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 4:57 pm
Neil Lennon reckons Asteras Tripolis are the favourites for the Europa League clash. Picture: SNS Group

The two teams meet in the second round of qualifying in Europe at Easter Road on Thursday night, with the Greek side boasting a superior record in continental competitions in recent years.

They reached the group stages in consecutive seasons from 2014-15 to 2015-16, and Lennon feels that experience could be crucial over the two legs - with Hibs not having made it into the first round proper since 2005.

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Croatian striker Ivan Lendric is currently on trial with Hibs. Picture: SNS Group

“They have a bit of pedigree in this tournament in terms of playing in the group stages,” he said.

“They have done (qualified) two or three times in the last four or five years so they area good team and finished the season strongly as we did.

“They are a big squad but are tactically very well set up and are a smart team. It’s a very difficult tie for us.”

When asked if the Tripoli side were favourites, he replied: “I would imagine so.

“We have very little pedigree at this level. We had the two games against Brondby (in 2016) which were an excellent starting point from my point of view in terms of taking the job on.

“I would say they have a lot more experience than us at his level, however it’s their first competitive game and any advantage we can take, we should try and maximise.”

He added: “They put a lot of emphasis on European campaigns, so tactically will be smart and streetwise its a really good test for us.”

Lennon also confirmed that attacking reinforcements were a priority, following the departure of Simon Murray to South African side Bidvest Wits earlier this week.

“It is slow at the minute and still early, we are closing in on one or two players,” Lennon said of their transfer business.

“Hopefully we will have a few new faces in but there is no timescale on that.”

Croatian striker Ivan Lendric has been training with Hibs this week as Lennon runs the rule over the former Željezničar Sarajevo forward.