Evening Express

Derek’s ‘20 grand’ striker hailed as priceless for his Euro contributions

McInnes was delighted by Sam Cosgrove

Dons boss Derek McInnes today praised “20 grand” striker Sam Cosgrove for causing Burnley’s international defenders problems.

A January signing from Carlisle, the 21-year-old was given the nod as the lone striker in the 1-1 Europa League draw with Burnley.

Cosgrove, who has yet to score competitively for Aberdeen, started ahead of last summer’s £400,000 signing Stevie May, who was a substitute.

McInnes’ faith was repaid when Cosgrove won the penalty for the Dons’ opener in the second qualifying round first leg at Pittodrie.

He said: “Sam Cosgrove led the line against Burnley brilliantly.

“This is the guy we brought in for 20 grand (£20,000) from Carlisle reserves last season.

“He was up against England internationals at centre-back and caused them all sorts of problems.

“He did very well for the team.

“Sam caused them all sorts of problems.”

McInnes had attempted to secure a striker before Wednesday’s 11pm cut-off to register new signings for the Euro clash.

However, the right deal could not be pushed through in time.

McInnes secured Watford defender Tommie Hoban on a season-long loan before the UEFA deadline.

That acquisition is all the more timely with the confirmation that centre-back Mark Reynolds is ruled out for up to seven months.

Reynolds underwent surgery earlier this week on a knee injury suffered in a friendly against Cove Rangers.

McInnes said: “It’s extremely disappointing that our worst fears were confirmed when he went into surgery.

“We’re going to be without Mark for the next six or seven months so it’s a huge blow, especially when these things happen in a pre-season game.

“But injuries are part and parcel of that. Knowing the character that Mark has, we’re hoping his rehabilitation will be as straightforward as possible.

“We’re disappointed for ourselves because we’re missing an important player, but we’re disappointed for Mark because he had worked extremely hard during the close season to give himself the best chance of being that important player he has always been for us.

“Unfortunately, he’s going to have to take a back seat now and work hard with the physios, but I wouldn’t bet against him coming back as strong as ever.”

Aberdeen are set to face Arbroath at Gayfield Park tomorrow in a friendly (2pm).

Polish centre-back Krystian Nowak will feature for the Dons, having been on loan at Pittodrie for the last two weeks.

Former Hearts defender Nowak, 24, is a free agent having been released by Greek top flight side Panionios at the end of the recent season.