Ledley: Summer switch could help

  • Last Updated: August 1 2012, 7:57 BST

Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley believes a change in the football calendar would help Scottish clubs in their quest for European success.

Joe Ledley: Geared up for Helsinki game

The Hoops take on HJK Helsinki in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifier at Parkhead on Wednesday night knowing the Finnish club are halfway through their season and on the back of a 9-1 aggregate win over KR Reykjavik in the last round.

The Wales international was asked his thoughts on summer football as a possible help for Scottish teams, who are invariably in the qualifying rounds of European competition.

He said: "If it is going to help us with the Champions League then yes, but it is obviously down to the Scottish FA to sort that out.

"The other teams have got an advantage because they are halfway through their season so it would be nice to get a couple of games under our belt going into the qualifiers.

"It will be difficult but our fitness levels are high. When we went to Germany (pre-season) it was more about fitness but we have got the footballs out in the last week and we are confident after the Inter game on Saturday.

"Although it was a draw it was a game against a quality team."

Ledley believes the Celtic players are fresher than last summer, when they undertook a tour of Australia before the season started.

He said: "Last year we went to Australia and there was a lot of travelling and time difference so I think there was a difference staying in Europe and going to Germany.

"There's not much travelling and time difference is only an hour so it has been a big help for us."

HJK coach Antti Muurinen, who admitted he would be happy if Georgios Samaras was left out of Lennon's starting eleven, believes his side's superior match-fitness "could be a factor" over the two games.

He said: "What could be an advantage is that we are well into our season, we have been playing games for months and Celtic are still in pre-season.

"As I understand Celtic Park can take 60,000 and that will obviously bring a lot of heat on my players but I want to believe in my players.

"And we don't have the same have-to-win pressure on us as the home team, although people back home are waiting on lots of things from this game."