Aberdeen are reluctant to rush Craig Bryson back to ease their midfield selection crisis.
An ankle injury picked up last month has kept Bryson out of training and while Red manager Derek McInnes, pictured below, still hopes he could be available for Motherwell on Saturday, he will not be risked if it poses a long-term risk.
Teenager Dean Campbell may well be the only senior central midfielder available to the Dons.
Lewis Ferguson is suspended, Funso Ojo is out injured until January while Stephen Gleeson has only just returned to training after a knee problem.
Campbell played for the Scotland under-19s squad in their 1-0 win over Germany on Tuesday night – alongside Aberdeen team-mate Ethan Ross – and has made 10 first-team appearances this season.
Bryson, by contrast, has managed half that tally as he seeks to regain full fitness.
McInnes said: “Craig is not back training yet but we’re hoping he will try make himself available for Saturday. We need to weigh it up.
“We don’t want to rush him back and have him out again. We’re without Lewis for the next couple of games so maybe we need to look at the long-term benefit.”
Campbell and Ross were influential in the win over the Germans at Firhill, with Campbell setting up Josh McPake’s winning goal. Ross made his first senior start for the club in the 1-1 draw with Hibernian.
McInnes added: “I managed to get them watched against Belarus and Paul (Sheerin, the Aberdeen under-20s manager) was down there on Tuesday night.
“It’s good for them to be involved, especially on Tuesday night in such a positive result.”
James Wilson is also back training after limping off against Hearts while summer signing Ash Taylor, who has not played since the 1-1 draw with Chikhura Sachkhere, could be available in the next three weeks.
Gleeson was injured over the summer and last featured in the 2-0 defeat to Rangers in April. He struggled for games last season, making just seven starts for the Dons.
McInnes added: “Stephen has been back training for the last four or five days. It’s good to get him back on grass again and it’s a matter of building up his fitness over the next wee period.”