Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has backed Sam Cosgrove to regain his scoring touch following a barren run in front of goal.
The Dons striker scored 20 goals before Christmas but has now gone five games without finding the net since netting in the 1-0 win against Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup – so far Aberdeen’s only goal in 2020
The goals have dried up for the Englishman in recent weeks and the former Carlisle United attacker even found himself on the receiving end of the fans’ frustration during Saturday’s goalless fifth-round tie against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie when the sight of his number going up to be substituted was greeted with cheers from the unhappy Aberdeen support.
It’s hard to believe a scenario where an Aberdeen striker with 21 goals so far in the campaign is being criticised but it is a measure of the unrest among fans following the lack of goals so far in the second half of the campaign.
McInnes has backed Cosgrove to put his recent run behind him.
He said: “I think sometimes for strikers it can be like that. There are better strikers than Sam who have gone through that period where they can do anything but score. They might not play well but still score. Sometimes, when a player goes home after a game and he’s scored, he’s bursting for the next game.
“There was a pattern with me with Adam Rooney. I had a lot of strikers chapping on my door, saying ‘you always play Rooney’.
“But the reason Rooney always played was because when he did go through a lull, there was a pattern and it didn’t last.
“He’d go on a run, scoring crucial goals, winning goals for us. Sometimes you’ve got to trust your strikers.
“Sometimes when you see players lacking confidence you need to take them out the firing line.
“We’ve got a 21-goal striker in the building and I’m always reluctant to take that type of firepower out the team. We work hard with our players to keep giving them that confidence. The players have got to show that themselves.”
It has been a tense few weeks for the Dons boss with some fans also turning their ire towards him following the poor run of results but McInnes is focused on lifting the gloom by guiding his side to a first league win since December against Hamilton tonight.
He said: “We can go third. I think that is an opportunity worth taking. There’s no doubt that if we can go and win tomorrow then it helps us going into the next game and it helps us going into the replay. The opportunity is there.
“We’re just into February and we don’t have a lot of room for error. But we can still finish third and we can have a good cup run. That’s what I’m working towards, that’s my motivation, that’s what I’m desperate to go and do again at this club this season.”