Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes would love to freshen up his side as they bid to reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup tomorrow.
But the Dons boss has little in the way of options as he prepares his patched-up team to go again at St Mirren tomorrow.
A combination of injuries to several players, plus the unavailability of three Scotland under-21 internationals due to them having to self-isolate after the Covid-19 outbreak while on national duty last week, has whittled a strong Aberdeen squad down the bare bones.
McInnes will have more options to choose from after tomorrow’s cup tie with Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and Connor McLennan all returning from isolation, while Jonny Hayes could be back from injury too for another trip to St Mirren Park next weekend, this time on league duty.
But for now the Aberdeen manager is looking for one last push from those who are available in tomorrow’s second round tie in Paisley.
He said: “We are just trying to navigate the situation at the minute and we have a cup game to try to get through on Saturday.
“Then we start to get a couple of boys back. Hopefully Jonny Hayes will be back for the game after that, the league game with St Mirren.
“For the cup game we just need to try to patch these boys up again. It will be three games in six days for a lot of boys who have not had a lot of football of late.
“A lot of boys haven’t been first pick and because of their lack of game time there is a concern there that they can get through with that intensity that is required to get wins against Premiership opposition.
“However, they are certainly giving it a right good go.”
Fatigue among some of the squad due to their lack of minutes on the pitch is a concern, but the Dons boss believes several players will benefit from having additional game time this week at Rangers and in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Hamilton.
He said: “It was a tough test for us on Sunday at Rangers and we wanted to go to Hamilton and win, but I thought the performance for long spells was good enough to win.
“There were some good performances such as young Dean Campbell and Funso Ojo in the middle of the park, who were very good.
“Sam Cosgrove is working his way back to full fitness and is such an important player for us. Curtis Main and Matty Kennedy had good moments in the game as well.
“There are a few boys there who have not been playing a lot of late, but hopefully they will be better for having the games.”
Dean Campbell has only just returned to fitness following six weeks on the sidelines with a broken metatarsal suffered two months ago.
McInnes would have preferred to have the luxury of easing the 19-year-old back into first-team duty, but with central midfield options few and far between the teenager has been thrown in at the deep end for the cause.
The Dons boss said: “Dean only had eight or nine days training prior to the game at Ibrox and we were already starting with quite a few boys who hadn’t played, almost half the team hadn’t had a lot of minutes.
“I told Dean prior to the Rangers game that he would come off the bench at Ibrox and start against Hamilton.
“It is important that we had him back available with Dylan McGeouch, Ferguson and McCrorie out from that one area of the team.
“It hasn’t been ideal.”