Fulham defender Stephen Kelly acknowledges that European action could leave Fulham drained, but is excited by the challenges that lie ahead.

The Cottagers will be involved in continental competition next season after seeing their fine disciplinary record in 2010/11 earn them a Europa League berth.

The opportunity to pit their wits against some of the best sides in Europe has been well received at Craven Cottage, with the club having enjoyed a fairytale run through the competition two years ago.

They are, however, aware that the demands placed upon them will push them to the limit.

Martin Jol’s men are set to see their summer break cut short by Europa League qualifiers and Kelly admits the 2011/12 campaign could be a long and arduous one for Fulham.

“It’s going to be tough and we have all got internationals as well so it’s going to be difficult,” the Republic of Ireland international said.

“To be finishing international duty and then to be back in 10 or 11 days later is going to be pretty demanding, but that’s football.

“To be a successful team, you have to take part in competitions like this and do everything right. If we do get into that stage, we are mentally able to do well in the competition.

“It’s going to be tough with the amount of games that we will have, but as I team I think that we are capable of it.”

Fulham managed to juggle domestic and European commitments in 2009/10, under the careful guidance of Roy Hodgson, and Kelly sees no reason why the club cannot repeat those heroics next term.

He added: “I think it’s pretty much the same squad from the time when we got to the final.

“We all played a massive part in that campaign so we are all hopeful and wishful that we can do that again because it is a tough thing to achieve, but as I said the experience is there from players that have already done that and achieved that and it’s something that, as a team, we would expect to have a good go at.

“I don’t think anybody expected what happened last time, I think the big one was the Juventus game because that really projected Fulham as a club onto the worldwide stage.

To come back and win that game in the style that we did really made people think, ‘God, they’re a good football team, they’re a good club, they’ve got some pretty talented players and they’re capable of achieving good things, especially against world giants like Juventus’.”