Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass will not risk forcing an early return of injured attacker Ryan Hedges.
Welsh international Hedges has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury suffered late on in the 2-1 League Cup loss to Raith Rovers.
Aberdeen have failed to win any of the games Hedges has missed and are on a six game winless streak.
Hedges is set to miss Saturday’s Premiership clash with St Johnstone at Pittodrie and Glass confirmed he will not risk rushing him back ahead of schedule.
Glass refuses to gamble on a short term fix of having Hedges back now and run the potential risk of exacerbating the injury to rule him out longer.
Glass said: “I think Ryan is another couple of weeks away.
“We wouldn’t rush him back because if you rush him to get another game you might lose ten.
“I am not going to put any pressure on that timescale.
“Ryan will take as long as he takes and then he will be ready.
“We wont risk him at any point because he is valuable to us as a player.
“He offers us a lot and we are looking forward to getting him back on the pitch.”
Dons more potent in attack with Hedges
Aberdeen rejected a a bid of under £500,000 from Blackburn Rovers for the 26-year-old towards the end of the summer transfer window.
Hedges is a player in demand as Blackburn were the third English Championship side to attempt to sign the attacker during the summer.
Cardiff City and Ipswich Town were also keen on landing the three-times-capped attacker.
That brace set up a play-off slot with Qarabag of Azerbaijan.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) August 12, 2021
However Hedges was ruled out of the Euro play-off ties having suffered the hamstring injury when introduced as a substitute in the cup loss at Raith on August 15.
In the five games Hedges started prior to his injury Aberdeen won four.
The only defeat was a 2-0 away reverse to BK Hacken in Sweden in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
However that defeat was effectively rendered redundant as Aberdeen had already romped to a 5-1 win in the first leg – winning the tie 5-3 on aggregate.
In the 2-0 loss to Motherwell at the weekend the Reds had 75% possession and 20 shots at target but could not make the breakthrough.
Latest injury frustration for playmaker
This is the latest injury frustration for Hedges who was ruled out for three months last season having had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle in February.
Initial fears were that his season was over but Hedges returned ahead of schedule when coming off the bench in a 2-1 defeat of Livingston on May 1.
He underlined his value to the Dons by making an immediate impact in scoring within minutes of his return – to gain a win that secured European qualification.
Glass accepts the importance of playmaker Hedges in breaching defences but will only consider him for selection when fully fit and ready.
Importance of Hedges acknowledged
On loan Wolves attacker Austin Samuels also missed the loss at Motherwell having received a leg knock in training 48 hours before kick-off.
Samuels, on a season long loan with an option to buy, had made an impressive debut when starting in the 1-1 draw with Ross County prior to the recent international break.
Glass said: “That is two players who obviously to add to the attacking power that we have and need.
“I think sometimes it shows when they are not on the pitch.”
Frustration at scoring chances missed
Aberdeen have slipped to sixth in the Premiership table following the loss at Fir Park.
Glass was frustrated that Aberdeen failed to make their possession count.
He said: “It was another game where we got a lot of the ball but don’t do enough with it.
“We didn’t do enough in the final third with the amount of the ball we had and we didn’t defend too similar situations well enough.”