FAMILIAR TIE: Everton beat SK Brann 8-1 on aggregate under David Moyes.

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Away Kit 728x90By Feargal Brennan

Everton will face either MFK Ruzomberok of the Slovakian Fortuna Liga or Norway’s SK Brann following this morning’s Europa League third qualifying round draw.

SK Brann lead 1-0 on aggregate, after a narrow win away in Slovakia on Tuesday night, with the second leg set for July 20.

The winners of their second qualifying round meeting will travel to Goodison Park for the third round first leg on July 27, with the away leg on August 3.

A meeting with SK Brann will have happy memories for the Blues, who beat them home and away in the 2007-08 UEFA Cup, including a Yakubu hat-trick in the Goodison leg.

The Norweigan side finished second in the Norweigan Tippeligan last season, behind Rosenborg, an impressive rise for a side that was relegated to the second tier in 2014.

A team based on functionality, rather than flair, than have re-established themselves back as a power within Norway, albeit some way behind Rosenborg.

Work rate and organisation have been the hallmarks of their return to domestic prominence, with a defence built on Bismarck Acosta (scorer from the first leg), Gilli Sorensen and Ruben Kristiansen.

If Everton play with pace in attack, in the form of Ademola Lookman or even Sandro Ramirez, they should be able to make a real dent in the Norwegians defence.

Without a star man as such, veteran Jakob Orlov is their clearest threat in attack, and top scorer with four goals. He will not pose a threat behind for Everton, but he will look to unsettle Michael Keane and Ashley Williams through his industry.

Whilst SK Brann are favourites to have enough to see off MFK Ruzomberok in Norway, should the Slovakians find a way past them they will pose a different proposition for Everton.

They finished third in the Slovakian Fortuna Liga last season, with a core of young players, that the club have successfully managed to retain.

Experience will be an issue for the Slovakian side, who fielded a young side in the first leg, and provided Everton field a sprinkling of first teamers they should have enough to progress.

Striker Jakub Mares will be the man to watch for Everton, having been in excellent goal scoring form in domestic matches. More mobile than Orlov, he will be a penalty area poaching threat for Everton.

Both sides should pose little threat to Everton, provided a mix of youth and experience is deployed against them, and tougher tests will lie ahead.

The qualifying rounds are set to be a testing ground for Koeman’s new signings and exactly which young players are ready to join the first team on a more regular basis


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