Dons can make their mark in World Cup qualifiers says Derek McInnes

Jonny Hayes in action for the Republic of Ireland
Jonny Hayes in action for the Republic of Ireland

Boss Derek McInnes today challenged Aberdeen’s international hopefuls to make their mark in the World Cup qualifiers.

Four Dons players are on international duty this week in the race to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Winger Niall McGinn is in contention to win a 45th cap for Northern Ireland who face minnows San Marino in Belfast on Saturday before facing World Cup holders Germany in Hanover three days later.

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has selected three Dons in his squad to face Georgia and Moldova.

Jonny Hayes, capped twice, was named in the initial squad along with keeper Danny Rogers who is currently on loan at Falkirk.

Prolific striker Adam Rooney, who netted a double in the weekend’s 4-0 win at Kilmarnock, was a late-call up to their World Cup qualifying squad.

McInnes said: “It is great experience for them and ideally all our players away on international duty can come back and take positives from being involved.

“Hopefully, the boys can contribute and come back to us in a good place.”

Attacker McGinn will face the extremes of minnows San Marino, 201 in the FIFA world rankings, before travelling to world champions Germany three days later.

McGinn came on as a late substitute in Northern Ireland’s 1-0 loss to Germany in the Euro 2016 finals group stage.

The 29-year-old netted in the 2-0 group tie win over Ukraine.

McInnes said: “Hopefully Niall gets the chance to play against Germany.

“He was part of a successful Euro 2016 campaign last time and they will all be looking for more of the same.

“With the games against San Marino and Germany, there are two extremes there.

“However, that is the excitement of international football.”