Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin insists the Dons’ need to get wins could force him to throw Marley Watkins back into the action this weekend.
Watkins is back in the squad after recovering from a foot injury suffered in the Boxing Day win against Dundee at Pittodrie.
Long-serving defender Andy Considine is also in contention for his first appearance since suffering a knee ligament injury in the 1-0 loss to Qarabag in the UEFA Conference League play-off first leg in August.
The duo return with the Dons still searching for their first win in the league in 2022 and with three games remaining before the split it is vital Aberdeen pick up three points against Hibernian at Pittodrie on Saturday.
With Adam Montgomery and Matty Kennedy still unavailable alongside Mikey Devlin, who has been injured all season, Goodwin admits he may have to thrust his returning players back into the action due to the need for a win.
Aberdeen have three games remaining to make up a four-point deficit as they face a late scramble to secure a top six place.
The Dons boss said: “Marley’s trained as well and is back in with the group which is great. He’s a big player for the club.
“He’s had a little bit of bad luck with the injuries. He’s been out for a considerable amount of time. He’s back now and is fully fit.
“It’s a similar situation to Andy Considine in terms of having not played a great deal of minutes.
“But unfortunately right now we don’t have the luxury of bedding guys in again.
“We’ve got big, big games coming up and we need to maybe gamble with one or two as well.
“Without being unfair to the players, I don’t want t0 rush guys back who physically can’t do what we’re asking them to do.
“The conversations I’ll have with the medical team and sports science teams, we’ll make calculated decisions on those ones who have been out for a long period of time.”
Considine’s return gives Dons defence a welcome boost
The Aberdeen manager is thrilled to have the experienced Considine, 34, back involved ahead of the vital run-in.
The Dons defence have badly missed the experience and organisational skills of Considine.
Goodwin knows he has to be careful in integrating Considine back into the fold but is thrilled to have the central defender, who can also play at left back, as an option at this stage of the season.
The Aberdeen boss said: “It’s all looking good at the minute. We’ve had a decent number of boys for a couple of weeks. The boys are in good shape.
“Andy is back in. He’s been training and been training well for the last 10 days. He’s in good shape and is another good addition to the squad.
“He obviously hasn’t had a whole lot of minutes in the last few months. We need to be fair to him.
“I don’t want to throw him in and ask too much of him, too early because that’s when you end up getting another kind of injuries in terms of muscle injuries. He’s available for the weekend.
“We’ve got a decision to make on whether we put him in from the start or whether we put him on the bench and have him as back up.”