New Aberdeen defender Anthony O’Connor keen to make an impact in Europa League



New Aberdeen defender Anthony O’Connor admits he is aiming to play his part in helping the Dons reach the Europa League group stages.

The 23-year-old was unveiled as Derek McInnes’ latest new recruit on Saturday and featured 24 hours later in a friendly victory over Brechin City.

O’Connor, who was part of the Burton Albion side that won promotion to the English Championship last season, began his career at Blackburn Rovers before joining Plymouth after loan spells at Burton and Torquay.

McInnes’ side face Fola on Thursday

The Irishman could be handed a competitive debut in Thursday’s Europa League first qualifying round home clash against CS Fola of Luxembourg.

Aberdeen have been knocked out of the competition at the third qualifying round in each of the last two seasons but the versatile O’Connor is targeting a longer run this time.

O’Connor said: “Playing in Europe is a big thing and something you want on your CV.

“Hopefully I can play my part in that as well. I know the team have reached the third qualifying round the past couple of seasons so hopefully they can go further this season, who knows maybe get to the group stages.”

Speaking about the switch to the Dons, O’Connor added: “The move has been on the cards for a little while so it great to be here and to have everything sorted.

“I am very excited to be here. Aberdeen is a massive club obviously in Scotland.

“I know they had a good season last year and hopefully we can improve on that this season.

“I felt moving to Aberdeen was the next step for me.

“I felt I needed a new challenge and Scotland seemed the right fit for me. When Aberdeen showed an interest in me I could not really say no.

“I only had one chat with my agent. I said to him straight away that I wanted to go for it.

“It is a new challenge for me and the next step in my career. I am hoping Aberdeen can achieve some things this season.

“Hopefully I can repay the faith the gaffer has shown in me and do really well for the club.”

O’Connor has been capped at Under-21 level for Ireland and also hopes a switch to Scotland can enhance his chances of earning recognition for the senior squad.

Speaking to RedTV, he added: “I have been in the international setup since I was young. I was involved from under-15s all the way up to the under-21s. That is another thing I want to achieve.

“I want to get into the senior Irish squad in the future. I know Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane come to watch the Aberdeen games from time to time.

“That is my long term aim but for now my focus is just on working hard and doing well for Aberdeen.”