STEVEN HAMMELL will gaze around the away dressing room inside the Ciutat de Valencia stadium this evening and find himself surrounded by players almost half his age.

It is not through choice that Stuart McCall, the Motherwell manager, finds himself preparing to field a team packed with teenagers and European debutants as they go up against Levante in their Europa League play-off round, second-leg encounter, but his limited squad has been savaged by injuries.

With defender Shaun Hutchinson suspended after having been sent off in the 2-0 first-leg defeat at Fir Park, and Tom Hateley, Steven Saunders, Nicky Law and Simon Ramsden all left at home nursing injuries, Motherwell are down to the bare bones in Spain. As a result, even more responsibility than usual will be placed upon the more established performers in the side and, with 421 appearances for the club under his belt, 30-year-old Hammell knows he has an important role to play this evening.

"There will be more responsibility on the experienced players," said Hammell. "Not that we've actually got that many experienced players here – players in their early 20s are looked upon as experienced.

"I've been here since I was 15 – 15 years ago. When you see the team-sheets now a lot of our lads' date of births are in the 1990s – high 90s, actually. But they've impressed and they'll be looking at tonight's match as a great chance to show what they can do. It is going to be a difficult one, but we've got to go out there believing we can do something."

While refusing to rule out what would be one of the most famous European comebacks in the history of Scottish football, Hammell is realistic enough to know Motherwell will be very much up against it in Spain. "I was really impressed by Levante in the first game," he said. "Defensively, they are a really top team and they have two or three players at the other end who can hurt you, and they showed that against us in the first leg."

Even if things do not go to plan this evening, Hammell believes there will be a lot of positives to take from their European campaign. He was at Motherwell when James McFadden and Stephen Pearson burst on to the scene and he is confident more top players will emerge at the club. He said: "Those boys maybe would not have got a chance as early had [administration] not happened. The club has always brought through young players and they will get their chance to move on."

Last night, Hammell's manager was talking about the necessity for his team to score the first goal against Levante, despite his squad being severely depleted. McCall oozes positivity and if anyone expected the Fir Park club to shut up shop this evening they would be wrong. As much as he is realistic enough to accept it would be a huge ask for his full-strength team to inflict a surprise defeat – never mind a side minus a handful of key players – he is planning on throwing caution to the wind.

"We worked ever so hard last year to get here," he said. "I know everything is against us and after Sunday I was dreading the trip a little bit with the injuries. But I feel a bit better about it now.

"We've got to try and get the first goal. I know it's easier said than done, but I won't be as cautious as we were in Panathinaikos. We went with three centre-backs in Athens and it worked quite well, but I haven't got the personnel to do that here, so that's helped me in my thinking. I felt in Athens we were quite comfortable until half-time, but we've got to try and score. It's a huge task."

When McCall finds himself preparing to not only hand European debuts to some of his teenagers but also include players on the bench who haven't even made their debuts, it highlights the magnitude of the task facing the Lanarkshire club.

"They are unfamiliar to me," laughed McCall. "There are a couple of guys who are 18 and 19. Adam Ashgar and Euan Murray, who played on Monday against Hearts in a bounce game, have come over with is. If you've got 20 to travel you're as well taking a couple of the young lads and I think those two will be on the bench. Lee Erwin is 18 and has played for Scotland Under-19s. Even if they don't get on it's still a great experience for them. We've got to go and try to be the best we can be."

On the transfer front, McCall is still hopeful of adding former Hearts player Ryan Stevenson to his pool after the midfielder reached an agreement with Ipswich Town to terminate his contract. "There will be other teams interested in him as well, but we are definitely interested," he said.