In theory this match has all the ingredients for a classic cup tie. Mid-week games under floodlights tend to have a special atmosphere anyway and both teams have defences which leave a lot to be desired. The potential for goals at each end is high and a rivetting contest should ensue.
We will be missing Stevie Hammell at left back but Paul Quinn is looking like an adequate replacement. Hammell has hit high heights in the past but he has struggled to reach his true potential for quite some time. Quinn might not be as flash or have the same attacking ability but he defends solidly and is undoubtably the better of the two in the air. Perhaps Stevie will also benefit from the competition.
Alan McCormack may be fit to return to the side after a long term injury and he would be a definite addition to the side. Shaun Fagan has his occasional good moments but there are few people who would argue that he brings as much to the side as the man on loan from Preston.
Aberdeen enjoyed a great league campaign last season and their success was largely based on a mean-spirited defence. That appears to have gone either as a result of complacency or simply because too many players are off form. They struggled to score goals last term but the addition of Lovell and Crawford attempted to rectify that. It is too early to classify them as successes or failures but Jamie Smith has been a definite hit in the North East and he will be the visitors danger man. If we can keep him quiet we must surely have a great chance of progressing – we already know we can carve out chances against this defence.
We have lost the last four cup ties against Aberdeen (three of them in the League Cup and two of them in extra time) so it might be time for us to enjoy a change of fortune. The quality of football may not be high but excitement and nerves will be present as we squeeze out a 2-1 win.
For those of you outside the UK, the game can be watched live through www.InternetFootball.co.uk.