Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has warned his players over a tough start to the season after they were handed a Europa League play-off trip to Atromitos, Greece.

The Toon will travel to the Peristeri Stadium for the first leg on either Wednesday, August 22 or Thursday, August 23, with the return taking place on Tyneside a week later.

If the initial game does take place on the Thursday evening, they face the daunting prospect of taking on Champions League winners Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Barclays Premier League less than 48 hours later.

Pardew told the club's official website: "It will be a hard game, for sure. You don't finish fourth in your league unless you've got something going on, so they are obviously on the up.

"It's a tough journey which is going to take a little bit away from us. Certainly coming back from there to go to Chelsea on a Saturday is not ideal."

He said: "I'm sure they'll (the fans) enjoy it. Athens is a fantastic city, so it will be great to see the Geordies rumbling around there."

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