Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes hopes the international break has given his squad some much needed respite following an unprecedented run of injuries and suspensions.
The Dons beat St Mirren 4-1 in their last outing before the break despite being without eight first team players in Niall McGinn, James Wilson, Stevie May, Scott Wright, Frank Ross, Mark Reynolds, Tommie Hoban and the suspended Scott McKenna.
McInnes expects to have at least half of those players back for Saturday’s trip to league leaders Hearts in the Scottish Premiership and hopes the break has brought a change of fortune for the overworked medical staff at Pittodrie.
He said: “Something has got to change, this cannot continue with the amount of injuries we’ve had. It is unprecedented in my time here.
“That’s why there were loads of positives from the St Mirren game in lights of the injuries and suspensions so to get all three points with nine players out, a lot of them key players, was very pleasing.
“I can’t get the same team out on the park two weeks in a row, I can’t field the same back four and the Scott McKenna suspension on top of that really hurt us.
“The squad should be stronger coming back after the international break as the likes of Stevie and James were touch and go for the St Mirren game and the break will have done them good.
“We’ll have Frank and Scott back too and Niall is touch and go.”
One player whose contribution was key in the last match was striker Sam Cosgrove who scored his first competitive goals for the club in the win against the Saints.
McInnes is delighted to see the 21 year-old former Carlisle United forward cap a fine display by opening his account for the club.
He said: “I could talk about the merits of various players but Sam in 90 minutes, every time he has started, we haven’t lost a game.
“He is effective for us and he brings a bit of size but like all strikers they are not totally satisfied unless they score goals.
“Sam is a young boy who is rough around the edges and I knew when we brought him he wasn’t perfect but we saw enough to be able to continually work with him and improve him.
“His goals were brilliant and I’m delighted he has been able to get a couple of goals and I’m sure it will do him a world of good.”