Burnley will find out the identity of their first European opponents in 51 years tomorrow.
And Clarets boss Sean Dyche is looking forward to following in the footsteps of the great Harry Potts and furthering his own managerial experience on the continent.
While the Europa League second qualifying round draw (champions path) takes place today in Nyon, Burnley’s name will be pulled out of the hat tomorrow, as the first and second qualifying round draws (main path) take place.
The Clarets come into the draw at the second qualifying round stage, and would have to come through that round, the third qualifying round, and a play-off round, before the group stage.
But whatever the draw brings, Dyche – who could, this season, become the club’s longest-serving manager since Potts – is excitied by the challenge.
While the naysayers feel Europa League commitments can sidetrack clubs from their bread and butter, Dyche can’t wait to get his teeth into it: “It’s one of those things, we’ve had a laugh about it the last few weeks, everyone fires negatives at you, and they forget you’re in Europe at a club like Burnley. I’ve not forgotten that. I’m a manager who is still developing, so it will be very interesting for me.
“I can imagine the challenge and all that goes with it, the logistics, the planning etc, so it’s good for me, the staff, the players and the club.
“We’ve had many challenges down the years, so we have to be flexible and adaptable and open minded, not get bogged down by the outside noise.
“It’s important we know what we’re focusing on, and stick to that, because it’s served us well.”
Burnley will return to pre-season training five days earlier than planned, and Dyche has worked the second qualifying round ties into the schedule.
On Friday, July 13th, Burnley play their first friendly at Cork, and send teams to Macclesfield Town and Curzon Ashton on Friday, July 20th.
The Clarets are at Deepdale to face Preston North End on Monday, July 23rd, before the Europa League second qualifying round on Thursday, July 26th.
Burnley host Montpellier on Sunday, July 29th, before the second qualifying round, second leg on Thursday, August 2nd, and are again at home to Espanyol on Sunday, August 5th in a Turf Moor friendly.
The Europa League third qualifying round, first leg is on Thursday, August 9th, before the Premier League season starts on the weekend of August 11th.
Dyche said: “The games will be factored in as part of pre-season, just because they have to be, not because we’re not taking them seriously, but they have to be part of it, because the Premier League is still where it’s at - the brand, the kudos, the money, everything is still very powerful.
“For a club like ours, European football is incredible, but we have to keep reminding ourselves the Premier League is the most powerful thing.”