Hughes confident ahead of Danish test
After a baptism of fire at Manchester City, coach Mark Hughes may feel minded to hark back to the days when he wore the red of United as he seeks inspiration for Thursday's UEFA Cup return at Denmark's FC Midtjylland.
City lost the home leg by the only goal and a man of Hughes' competitive spirit is not about to let the whiff of Europe fade away in August. After Sunday's 3-0 win over West Ham helped restore flagging morale on the back of the Danish flop and a first-up Premier League loss at Aston Villa, a further boost arrived with a renewed pledge from owner Thaksin Shinawatra that he does not intend to sell the club.
Even though England defender Micah Richards is set to miss the European tie after suffering concussion in Sunday's match, Hughes insisted he was minded "to talk about the positives" and indicated that on the transfer front "we have a number of situations that could be resolved in the next few days."
As Hughes looks to the future with increasing optimism, a delve into the history books might also give cause for a boost ahead of the second qualifying round encounter. In 1992, he scored the goals which won United the now defunct Cup Winners Cup at Barcelona's expense - along the way knocking out his fellow Welshmen from Wrexham, who had themselves first defeated Danish opposition in Lyngby away from home.
More of the same will do for City as they bid to settle into a rhythm, and pick up some extra European revenue, after the uncertainties of the summer since the departure of Hughes' predecessor Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Young striker Daniel Sturridge, on target against the Hammers and an FA Youth Cup winner last season, is set to start with Hughes hailing him as a potential major talent. "All strikers want to score their first goal and he has been able to do that. We are delighted for him."
While City have work to do, former European champions Aston Villa can take it rather easier having won their away leg at Iceland's FH Hafnarfjordur 4-1, cup-tying Liverpool target Gareth Barry in Europe in the process, should he ultimately make the switch.
Scottish minnows Queen of the South lost their home leg to Danish outfit, FC Nordsjaelland, 2-1, and have to redeem themselves in Tuesday's return. Queen of the South manager Gordon Chisholm says anything is possible as his men go up against a side coached by former Celtic star Morten Wieghorst. "We will go out and give our best - we have 90 minutes to get back into it," insisted Chisholm.
Elsewhere, Germany's Stuttgart, who flopped in the UEFA Champions League last season, must hold onto a 2-1 lead away to Hungary's Gyori while Norwegians Rosenborg, seasoned campaigners in the Champions League who missed out this year, have to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Sweden's Djurgardens.
UEFA Cup second qualifying round, second leg fixtures, with the first leg result in brackets:
Lokomotiv Sofia (BUL) v FK Borac (SRB) (0-1)
FC Nordsjaelland (DEN) v Queen of the South (SCO) (2-1)
FC Moscow (RUS) v Legia Warsaw (POL) (2-1)
FC Midtjylland (DEN) v Manchester City (ENG) (1-0)
Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR) v FK Vojvodina (SRB) (0-0)
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona (ISR) v Litex Lovech (BUL) (0-0)
NK Zrinjski (BIH) v Braga (POR) (0-1)
Slaven Koprivnica (CRO) v Aris Salonika (GRE) (0-1)
Hertha Berlin (GER) v IB Ljubljana (SLO) (2-0)
Salzburg (AUT) v FK Suduva (LTU) (4-1)
Viking FK (NOR) v FC Honka Espoo (FIN) (0-0)
Cherno More Varan (BUL) v Maccabi Netanya (ISR) (1-1)
Omonia (CYP) v AEK Athens (GRE) (1-0)
MSK Zilina (SVK) v Slovan Liberec (CZE) (2-1)
Rosenborg (NOR) v Djurgardens IF (SWE) (1-2)
Kalmar FF (SWE) v Gent (BEL) (1-2)
Lillestrom (NOR) v FC Copenhagen (DEN) (1-3)
Vaslui (ROM) v Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT) (2-0)
Sturm Graz (AUT) v FC Zurich (SUI) (1-1)
* Austria Vienna (AUT) v FC WIT Georgia (GEO)
Brondby (DEN) v FC Haka (FIN) (4-0)
Besiktas (TUR) v Siroki Brijeg (BIH) (2-1)
Grasshoppers (SUI) v Lech Poznan (POL) (0-6)
Debrecen (HUN) v Young Boys Bern (SUI) (1-4)
Red Star Belgrade (SRB) v Apoel Nicosia (CYP) (2-2)
Bellinzona (SUI) v Dniepr (UKR) (2-3)
Gyori ETO FC (HUN) v VfB Stuttgart (GER) (1-2)
Rennes (FRA) v Stabaek (NOR) (1-2)
Hajduk Split (CRO) v Deportivo La Coruna (ESP) (0-0)
Saint Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL) v Elfsborg (SWE) (2-2)
Naples (ITA) v KS Vllaznia (ALB) (3-0)
Aston Villa (ENG) v FH Hafnarfjordur (ISL) (4-1)
Note *: The match between FC WIT Georgia and Austria Vienna will comprise just one leg in Austria owing to the security situation in Georgia.