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RODGERS WELCOMES CLASH WITH ASTANA

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BRENDAN RODGERS welcomed the forthcoming Champions League play-off games with recent foes Astana.

The Hoops beat the Kazakhstan title-holders in last season’s third qualifying round 3-2 on aggregate.

The fixtures are reversed this year with the first leg in Glasgow on Wednesday, August 16 and the return six days later.

Rodgers said: “The beauty for us on this one is it is not the unknown.

“We played them last year and qualified, so we know what it is like out there; hotel, astro-turf pitch, virtually the same players.

“It will be as tough as last year, but we look forward to it and will be ready for it.”

The squad will again have to undertake an eight-hour round trip with a five-hour time difference and Rodgers will stick with last year’s preparations.

He said: “We stayed on British time because obviously there is the time difference which can really throw you.

“I have done it in the past, we stayed on British time to keep our body clocks the same.

“Some of our staff outside the football stayed on the time in Astana and they actually felt it would have been better to stay on the British time.

“You are not sure if you are having your dinner or breakfast, but it certainly helps you.

“You couldn’t really do it over a sustained length of time, but when it is only a short trip, to throw your body out sometimes isn’t ideal.

“We did last time and it worked well for the players.”

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