Aberdeeen boss Derek McInnes reckons Dons can cope if Motherwell turn Pittodrie clash into physical battle

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes the Dons can cope if Motherwell employ a physical approach.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes the Dons can cope if Motherwell employ a physical approach.

Derek McInnes is confident Aberdeen can stand up to Motherwell if the Steelmen turn today’s game into a physical battle.

The Dons came out second-best in two key cup ties against ‘Well last season with their approach in the Scottish Cup semi-final in April proving particularly difficult for McInnes’ side to cope with.

Striker Sam Cosgrove is someone the Aberdeen boss could utilise if he chooses to go toe-to-toe with today’s opponents with the former Carlisle and Wigan striker impressing in a second-half role against St Johnstone last weekend.

McInnes respects the squad Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson has assembled at Fir Park but believes his side have the capabilities to come out on top if the game turns into a slog.

He said: “Presence is important in every game you play, you need pace, energy and strength to get the balance of any team right. Motherwell will ask questions of us so we have to impose ourselves on the game. Any time we have stood up to them and not made mistakes we have won the game.

“But when we have been rattled and made errors, they have went on to win. So it is important to use our experience of playing against them to good use. They are honest, hard-working and they have players who can cause problems. So we have to make sure we cause them more problems than they cause us.”

McInnes is without six players heading into the game but forward James Wilson and defender Mikey Devlin are available again. He also hopes to tie up Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven on contract extensions in the near future and is pleased both have indicated their willingness to remain at Pittodrie.

He said: “We have started speaking to both lads and they have each indicated an eagerness to stay. Hopefully we will get a contract in front of them which will make that happen. We will try to get to that conclusion. It has been positive and hopefully we will have news.

“Both lads enjoy it here, you can see the benefit to Gary’s game of playing regularly and we all know the regard I have for Shinnie.”

Shinnie and Mackay-Steven are out of contract at the end of the season and will be free to speak to other clubs at the turn of the year. McInnes managed to secure youngsters Dean Campbell and Bruce Anderson on long-term deals in the last month.