Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has warned his defence to beware the twin threat of Motherwell’s forwards tonight as the Dons bid to close the gap on Rangers in the race for second place in the Premiership.
The Dons can move to within a point of the Light Blues if they win their game in hand at Pittodrie but McInnes believes stopping Scott McDonald and Louis Moult will be key.
He said: “It’s strange not playing someone all season then having two games in 10 days, it’s quite unusual.
“Motherwell showed against Celtic they can go toe-to-toe with any team because their front two score goals and are a real handful.
“Mark McGhee has had to play a few youngsters this season so that maybe accounts for some of the inconsistency because you get that when you have to play young players.
“On their day they are very competitive, they are aggressive and can score goals.
“I know they didn’t score last weekend but they hit the net most weeks.
“They will come here thinking they can get a result, so we have to be fully concentrated on the job.”
McInnes, who named an unchanged squad following Saturday’s goalless draw with St Johnstone, remains hopeful of retaining midfielder James Maddison on loan for the second half of the campaign.
The 20-year-old, who is on loan from English Championship side Norwich City, has come in for some rough treatment since moving to Scotland, with his Dons team-mate Adam Rooney calling for referees to give the player more protection.
McInnes, however, believes there is no problem and has backed the former Coventry City player to continue showing a willingness to go in where it hurts for the cause.
He said: “I understand a fellow team-mate saying what Adam did but I’m fine with it.
“For me, James is a player who attracts people to the ball and invites challenges.
“He takes the ball in tight areas of the pitch, has great close control, so opponents are aware he can cause problems if you give him time and space.
“Dealing with that is something all good players have to learn to cope with – it’s a compliment if people are paying you close attention.
“In my career I was one of the guys managers asked to stop people playing.
“That happens when other teams see you as a threat and in James’ case I don’t think it has gone too far.
“He doesn’t see it as a problem and I don’t see it as a problem, either.”