MOTHERWELL midfield starlet Stuart Carswell believes tonight's friendly with Romanian outfit Rapid Bucuresti is the perfect preparation for Well's Champions League third round qualifiers.
The draw for the qualification double header will be made a week on Friday, with the Steelmen set to face either Dynamo Kiev, Panathinaikos, Fener-bache or FC Copenhagen and teenage talent Carswell is relishing the opportunity to prepare for the Euro foray against the technically gifted Romanians.
Motherwell gaffer Stuart McCall is set to give his players 45 minutes each at the Grangemouth Stadium in tonight's 7pm kick-off and the midfielder is determined to make an impact in his club's first friendly outing.
Carswell said: "I think to be facing a Romanian side first up is great preparation for us in terms of the Champions League. You know they are going to be good technically and comfort-able on the ball and that is something we can expect to face with any of the side's we draw in the Champions League qualifier.
"I think they have something like 15 international players in their squad and they have already turned over Stenhousemuir and Morton so it is certainly going to be a really tough opening game for us.
"But the chance to play against top European opposition doesn't come around often so it is an exciting way to start the build-up for the newterm.
"But, as I said, with the Champions League qualifier draw a week on Friday and the tie at the end of the month this is just great preparation for us."
With midfield pivot Steven Jennings having moved on during the summer Carswell knows that the forthcoming pre-season is a massive one for him as he tries to make a place in the Well midfield his own.
Having benefited from Well's week-long training camp in the Algarve, Carswell is confident he has the ideal fitness base from which to impress in tonight's run-out against Rapid.
He said: "We worked really hard over in Portugal with three training sessions a day although the gaffer did give us one afternoon off for a round of golf.
"But in terms of the amount of work we got through it was really beneficial for the squad.
"We had another session yesterday and now we have our first game tonight with Rapid so you know that the season is not far round the corner and the excitement starts to build in you.
"Although the gaffer is going to use tonight's game to give us all 45 minutes it is the first opportunity to impress and I am out to make the most of it.
"I figure if you can prove you can do a job against really good quality European opposi-tion then it has got to help push you into the gaffer's plans for the Champions League qualifiers."
The 18-year-old added: "The key is to make the most of your time and keep working as hard as possible in training.
" We have a trip to Ayr next on Saturday and the better I do tonight hopefully the better my chances of more game time in that one.
"Obviously despite the fact that Stevie Jennings has moved on the gaffer still has options and Nicky Law can play in the central areas as well.
" So there is still going to be quite a bit of competition in there and I think that is important for the club."