Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged his players to use this weekend’s trip to Motherwell as to force themselves into his Betfred Cup final plans.
Saturday’s meeting at Fir Park against the Steelmen is the Dons’ last match before they take on Celtic at Hampden on December 2.
McInnes has plenty of choice for the showpiece with the injuries and suspension problems that have disrupted the club’s start to the season starting to clear.
Central defender Mikey Devlin is a doubt for the games against Motherwell and Celtic after withdrawing from the Scotland squad with an ankle injury.
McInnes hopes those who feature at Motherwell use the opportunity to prove they are worth a Hampden start.
He said: “You want to go into the cup final with no injury concerns and obviously you want to be in good form.
“That goes as a team but also individually for the players to give themselves the best chance to be involved in the game.
“It has been a bit stop-start this season so hopefully we can find performances from within to be ready when the final comes around.
“It has been stop-start because of injuries but also the calendar. I have very rarely had the chance to play the same team two games in a row due to injuries and suspension. That is something all managers have to deal with throughout the season. We feel we have had the rough end of the stick early on so hopefully that starts clear.”
Consistency has eluded the Dons so far this season with the Dons sitting in sixth spot in the Scottish Premiership with 21 points from their opening 12 games.
With a run of eight league games in December before the winter break, the chance to accumulate points will come quickly.
McInnes added: “December is going to be a really busy month.
“We will have played 12 leagues games in four months since we started and we are going to be playing eight in December.
“That is the way it is but it is unusual where you would have so many games in the one month. We need to make sure we are ready for that.
“Seasons can be too stop-start but hopefully when the games come thick and fast we will get into the swing and get a real run at it.”
He also stated there has been no additional emphasis on the Dons being a more defensive side, despite some performances lacking the flair that featured at times last season.
McInnes said: “There hasn’t been any added onus on us to be more defensive. I think we have very rarely had the same back four available to us. When you have that it brings familiarity and breeds confidence. I think we have restricted the opposition to very few chances although I am still expecting more from us in terms of possession.”