Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell insists he is preparing to face the Aberdeen side which recently clocked up six straight wins.
The Dons go into tomorrow’s trip to Dingwall on the back of two defeats, losing 3-0 at home to Motherwell last Sunday before bravely going down 1-0 away to Portuguese heavyweights Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.
Although the Dons were firm underdogs in their Europa League tie, the defeat to Well halted an excellent run of form from Derek McInnes’ side.
Kettlewell expects the Reds to bring that standard of display to Victoria Park this weekend, and he said: “I heard Joe Lewis saying it’s as strong a squad as they’ve had since he came to the club, and I don’t think too many would argue with that.
“You go right through their ranks and look at guys who are maybe even missing out on their squad. They are strong, they have got real good players in their team.
“It’s a difficult task for us, but it’s a great opportunity for especially some of our young players to pit their wits against some of the top players in this division.
“Take away the Motherwell game last weekend, where nobody expected the scoreline – we’ll be preparing for the Aberdeen side that has been eeking out results and winning games.”
Kettlewell has been impressed with the way the Dons have responded following a 19-day period without playing, after eight of their players breached coronavirus regulations.
He added: “We saw Derek speaking to the guys on the pitch after one of the games. There’s clearly a bit of a siege mentality there.
“It’s clear to see they’ve had a bit of that in the results they’ve had.
“There was a lot of negativity surrounding the guys on the night out and them not being able to play games in the initial part of the season.
“The club had dealt with the whole Covid situation really well. It probably hasn’t surprised me too much. I know it’s a good record, but you expect a club like Aberdeen to go and win games in the Premiership with the players and set-up they have. They were fully braced for the season ahead.”
County could include Irish forward Michael O’Connor should his move from Waterford United be completed on time, and Kettlewell is pleased with the options available to him.
Kettlewell, who has doubts over Connor Randall, Billy Mckay and Ross Draper with calf injuries, added: “I’ve been delighted with the squad. I was delighted with our recruitment and the guys we were able to keep.
“I feel as if I have decent options coming off the bench, one or two who haven’t quite had the opportunity yet.
“That’s coming – we’re only eight games into the season.”