Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is banking on the return of Scott McKenna to boost his side’s hopes of making the Betfred Cup final.
McKenna has missed the last two league games after being hit by a Scottish FA ban, with McInnes feeling he was particularly missed during the 2-1 defeat to Hearts on Saturday.
It has been a stop-start campaign so far for the Scotland international defender, who was subject of summer interest from Swansea, Celtic and Aston Villa.
He sustained a hamstring injury in the opening weekend against Rangers and missed the next four games, before being hit with a retrospective two-match suspension for a challenge on Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard in the 1-0 defeat last month.
The Dons have lost two of the games he has missed and two of the games he has played, however having him available for such a crucial encounter will be vital to the Aberdeen manager.
McInnes said: “We wanted a positive result (before the semi-final) and we spoke about that. I thought we missed McKenna, there’s no getting away from it, and thankfully he will be back next week. We have been hampered by losing him. We thought we would maybe get by the St Mirren game, but we missed him against Hearts.
“We are now getting players back – Wright, McGinn, Stevie May, James Wilson. They will all be better for having the game and hopefully we will be more ready for the game next week. It’s going to be a brilliant game, I’m really looking forward to it.
“If the trade-off from this disappointment is things we need to learn – because I thought we played a bit young in the first half – hopefully it helps us for next week. The build-up will be exciting, hopefully we have a good working week going into the game, and we look forward to trying to get the club into another final.”
Tommie Hoban, Greg Tansey and Mark Reynolds are likely to be the Dons only absentees heading into the Hampden Park clash, after Niall McGinn, James Wilson and Scott Wright all featured against the Jambos.
The Dons have shifted just under 10,000 tickets for Sunday’s game, with an allocation of around 14,500 to be sold.