Football - McCall hopes for McFadden magic

Motherwell boss Stuart McCall hopes a piece of magic from James McFadden can help boost their chances of progression in the Europa League at the expense of Kuban Krasnodar.

PA Sport
Football - McCall hopes for McFadden magic

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Stuart McCall knows James McFadden, pictured, could make the difference

The Steelmen play host to the Russian outfit in the first leg of the third qualifying round on Thursday night and McCall believes he has quality throughout his team to cope with the threat of their visitors.

But the Well boss knows former Everton and Birmingham forward McFadden - who re-signed for the club earlier this month - is the one player capable of producing something extra special on the big stage.

McCall said: "He can be very important. He is probably the one out of the team that we are looking to do a bit of magic.

"He has certainly got that in his locker, whether it be a free-kick from 30 yards or beating a couple of men, he has certainly got that.

"He is still just getting up to match sharpness, and there is still a bit of a way for him to go, but he's a match-winner, there is no doubt.

"I believe we've got other players who can cause them problems as well.

"As aware as we are of their capabilities and strengths, we are also going to give it our best."

With the Russian league season already under way, McCall is confident Motherwell have done enough homework on their opponents.

And he hopes the element of surprise may work in their own favour with Krasnodar's dossier on the Fir Park side likely to be less substantial.

He said: "We've learned quite a lot about them to be honest.

"We've seen all three games they've played in the league quite in depth so we have been fortunate in that regard.

"They are three league games into the season and we would like to think we know a decent bit about them.

"We are well-informed and hopefully the lads know their roles and responsibilities for tomorrow night.

"Then it's just about going out and playing to our maximum and playing at our best, which we will need to do.

"I don't think they will know as much about ourselves. We are still gelling as a team, with six or seven new players.

"I think the only footage they'll be able to get is of last season's games and five or six of our main players have departed.

"There might be a little advantage. I think it all boils down to what you do out on the park but every little helps."

McCall admits he would settle for a goalless draw from the home leg if it means keeping the tie alive for the return leg.

He said: "The big point is still to be in the tie going over there.

"We don't want to be negative in any way. We want to win the game but 0-0 wouldn't be the worst result.

"If you look at their stats, they are unbeaten since November.

"We know it's going to be difficult but it's a tie we believe we can go through.

"I know we will be the underdogs but we definitely believe, if we are at our best, that we can progress."

Asked if the group stages are a realistic aim for Motherwell, McCall said: "My initial target is to make sure we go over there and we are still in it.

"The first leg is hugely important. It was really difficult to go over to Panathinaikos and Levante last season knowing we were going to need a miracle.

"We've had a look back at those games and tried to take everything from the experiences we had.

"First and foremost, we still want to be in the tie and to get to the next stage would be fantastic."

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