Emre ready for Riga return

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The Independent Football

Newcastle United's Turkish midfielder Emre was in confident mood yesterday as he flew back to the scene of one of the worst nights of his football career.

Emre was part of the Turkey team surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Latvia in a European Championship qualifying play-off in Riga three years ago. But he believes it will be a different story on his return to the Latvian capital for his club's Uefa Cup second qualifying round first-leg meeting with FK Ventspils tomorrow.

"When we played against Latvia it was really a big disaster, but I hope this time everything will be OK," Emre said. "We have got to triumph because we have got so many good players and we hope to make it into the group stages of the Uefa Cup, which is very important for us."

Emre was in Newcastle's 22-man travelling party, with the club's manager Glenn Roeder reporting no fresh injury worries following the weekend's entertaining pre-season friendly draw with Villarreal. But Emre urged his side to take nothing for granted against opponents who are top of the table and unbeaten after 17 matches of the Latvian Virsliga season so far.

"It is different because they have played so many games in their league already and their physical condition is better than ours," he said. "But we have many good players and are ready for a difficult game."