The Dons have already been bleating about our refusal to move the game to the Sunday, claiming it is unfair they have to play again so soon after their cup thrashing by Hibs. However it is unlikely that this will make an impact; they are professional footballers after all. And besides, they only played properly for about 45 minutes at Easter Road, if reports are believed, so they should be nice and fresh!
Instead, what will make more of an impact on the game will be weather and injuries. It is doubtful the pitch will be able to handle the rain that has pounded down on the turf so often in the last days and with a wet forecast ahead the prognosis is gloomy.
We have our own injury worries but most of them are long term and it is safe to say we have managed to adapt reasonably well. Paterson is out suspended, as is Clarkson, but with Murphy and a handful of strikers/attacking wingers in store to partner McDonald we should be okay. Aberdeen on the other hand are definitely a poorer team without Jamie Smith and we will sleep better knowing Craig Brewster is also out. But Anderson and Hart played in the cup match despite not being fully fit and that leaves Calderwood in a dilemma – does he soldier on with them so soon, risking them in the future or does he throw in the kids? Either way, you'd hope we can capitalise on the situation.
Once the players take to the field the key area will be in the midfield. Even with their problems Aberdeen are likely to dominate the middle of the park simply because we struggle every time we come up against a 3-5-2. It is highly unlikely Malpas will make formation changes so we need Kerr and Fitzpatrick not only to play well but to put in a ton of running to make up for being a man short. The converse is that if we can hold our own in midfield there is space to exploit behind their wing backs and if McDonald can rediscover his form in collecting the ball out wide their centre halves will also be pulled out of position.
This game looks intriguingly poised. Aberdeen are better than us but they are suffering squad wise and on the Fir Park mud we might just do what it takes. 1-0 Motherwell.