Stephen Glass is fully aware of the financial implications for Aberdeen as he prepares his team to take the final step towards the group stages of the Europa Conference League in Baku tonight.
The Dons manager, speaking from the Azerbaijan capital where he will lead his men out against Qarabag in the first leg of their play-off tie, knows how important the cash which would be generated from continuing in the competition will be to his playing budget as he looks to further strengthen his squad.
With chairman Dave Cormack insisting the Reds have the third biggest playing budget in the Premiership at £15m, Glass could be feeling the pressure in efforts to keep the money rolling-in.
He spoke of the enormity of the tie and the opportunity of moving into the group stage and turning hopes into reality if Qarabag can be brought back to Aberdeen next Thursday night following a good result in the heat of Baku.
“It would mean a hell of a lot to get into the group stages,” he said. “It is difficult and there’s a reason it’s not happened for 14 years or so. We’re aware of that but we do believe we’ve got a group who can
“Any cash that comes in is spread throughout the club, but we can affect that by getting to the group stages which gives you a little more scope to go asking for more to strengthen the group.
“But we know there’s backing from the chairman and the board if we can present the right options. So, it’s important we continue to present them.”
A place in the next phase of the tournament would land Aberdeen £2.5m. In addition, victory in the group brings in £400,000 with £120,000 for a draw.
It’s the kind of windfall that would allow the club to up their bid for Hibs attacker Martin Boyle for whom they’ve already had a £500,000 offer rejected.
“I don’t want to talk about players at other clubs,” Glass said. “If we don’t get the targets we want, we move onto the next one. I’m specifically not going to name names.
“At the start of the transfer window you want to come out of it stronger. That’s going to continue to be the aim. We know what we’ve got and where we’d like to strengthen. Any manager would want to
“If you continue to win games and end up in the group stages it maybe gives us a little more power to ask for that.”
He is adamant that winning away and then at Pittodrie in Europe is eminently achievable, although ensuring the tie is “still alive” for the second leg is the main priority.
He said: “You don’t know the opponent truly until you start feeling it. We think we’ve got a group of players who can go there and win.
“The tie must be alive when we come back to Aberdeen and that’s in our favour. That might be winning the game, nicking a draw, or a very, very narrow defeat. We’ll see. But if it’s alive when we go back to Aberdeen, we believe we’ve got a group who are capable of winning.”
Ryan Hedges is still suffering from the hamstring injury that forced him off during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Raith Rovers in the Premier Sports Cup, while Jonny Hayes, another casualty that day, has travelled to Azerbaijan where temperatures are around 33 degrees, with the hope that he’ll be able to take part.
“It’s the same for both teams,” Glass added. “If it is purely physical we’ll be ready for it and if we can play, we’ll play. We have a group capable of mixing it.”