Gael Bigirimana

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Gael Bigirimana could make his Newcastle United bow in Thursday's Europa League fourth qualifying round tie at Atromitos - and admitted the prospect of playing in such competitions was one of the reasons he joined the Magpies.

The summer signing from Coventry will travel to the Greek capital of Athens as part of Alan Pardew's squad and, should he play a part at the Peristeri Stadium, it would be a European debut at the age of just 18.

And although he may not be the only fringe player involved with United in Barclays Premier League action at Chelsea less than 48 hours later, the Burundi-born midfielder insists Newcastle are going there to win.

"It's a new experience and it's going to be a good game," Bigirimana told nufc.co.uk ahead of the first leg of the Magpies' bid to qualify for the group stages of the tournament.

"I signed here to get the experience of playing in some great tournaments; the Europa League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup - these major cups.

"And on Thursday, if it's the day that I'm meant to start then I thank God. If I don't start, then what's best for the team is most important and at the end of the day we just want to go through to the next round."

Bigirimana admits that the priority for Newcastle is to make sure that they're still in with a good chance of progressing when they bring the Greek side back to the Sports Direct Arena next week.

But he doesn't believe it will be a case of playing for a draw against a side who finished fourth in their domestic league last term.

"Even if we go there and we draw, that's a great result for us to come back here with," said the teenager.

"We want to bring the tie back to Newcastle in good hands so we can go from there and we're confident.

"But we're not going there to draw - we're going there to win. That's the the mentality that the manager has being putting into the team: we've got to win every game."