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Derek McInnes rallies injury-hit Aberdeen squad as he backs former Don Kenny McLean to be Premier League hit

Connor McLennan limped off against Rangers.
Connor McLennan limped off against Rangers.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has called for one last push from his injury-ravaged side as they struggle for bodies in the race for Europe.

Already without Niall McGinn, Graeme Shinnie, Gary Mackay-Steven, Shay Logan and Tommie Hoban, the Dons lost Connor McLennan in the defeat to Rangers and will have defender Andy Considine suspended after his Ibrox red card.

McInnes has only teenager Ethan Ross available in the wide areas, ahead of the visit of Celtic to Pittodrie on Saturday.

He said: “We are struggling for wide players and Connor is the only natural wide player we have. With Connor going off it really impacted on how we play.

“James Wilson worked manfully but we needed that ball carrying speed which Connor provides. We’ve lost Niall, Gary and now Connor while Greg Stewart is just working his way back too and we only have young Ethan Ross left as a natural wide player.

“We have got three games to go and it is going to take a big effort from everyone now. We don’t have too many options for Saturday but we’re hoping it will improve before the end of the season.”

McInnes reckons Kenny McLean will have no problem adjusting to life as a Premier League player.

Norwich City’s Kenny McLean (left) celebrates with fellow Scots Grant Hanley and Jordan Rhodes after the Canaries’ promotion was confirmed.

McLean, who left Aberdeen for Norwich City last year, is bound for the top flight in England with the Canaries promoted from the Championship.

An ankle injury derailed his early days at Carrow Road but having recovered his fitness after Christmas, he has made himself a regular in the midfield of Daniel Farke’s table-toppers.

His performances saw him secure an immediate return to the Scotland setup for the games against Kazakhstan and San Marino and McInnes, who brought him to Pittodrie from St Mirren in 2015, has no doubts he can kick on again at the highest level.

He said: “He started pre-season well and they were delighted with him. He got injured and had to be satisfied with a place on the bench, as the team was winning. He’s now cemented his place in the team, contributing with goals. We were texting back and forth after the Scotland game (against San Marino) and it looked like he played without the baggage of the first game. He played with a strut and a confidence, which was exactly what the team needed.

“He’s played in exactly the same manner at Norwich. We as a staff thought he would be one that would go again and it’d be great for him if he becomes a Premier League player in the summer. I think he can play at that level – he’s got size, he’s technical, he’s fit and very motivated. He’s got a bit of everything. He showed he was the complete package, particularly towards the latter part of his time with us.”

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