Pardew happy with Newcastle Europe League tie with Atromitos

FA CHARGE:  Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew
FA CHARGE: Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew
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ALAN Pardew has declared himself happy with Newcastle United’s Europa League draw.

The club were drawn against Greek side Atromitos in the final qualifying round before the competition’s group stage.

In the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, Newcastle avoided a potentially tricky, and gruelling, visit to cash-rich Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, captained by Samuel Eto’o.

They could also have faced trips to Romania, Azerbaijan or Norway.

Newcastle will visit Athens for the first time since the 2004-05 season, when they played both Olympiakos and Panionios in their run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup under Graeme Souness.

“There are no easy games in Europe,” said Pardew.

“This will be a tough test for us.

“It’s also a bit of a worry the fact we have a four-hour flight.

“Overall, it’s a good draw for us. Athens is a lovely city and it’s a beautiful place. I’ve been there before.”

Club officials are now waiting to hear whether UEFA will allow them to play the away leg second.

United are due to travel to Athens for the first leg on August 22 or 23, with the return set for August 29 or 30.

However, Pardew’s side take on Chelsea in a televised clash at Stamford Bridge on August 25, and Atromitos - who finished fourth in the Greek Super League last season - are willing to switch the legs.

The final decision now rests with UEFA, European football’s governing body.

Pardew said: “We’re looking into seeing if we can turn the legs around. They sound up for it.

“Whether UEFA will grant the legs being turned around, we’ll have to see.”