‘Chidi has a bit of everything’ – Aberdeen boss McInnes

Chidi Nwakali.
Chidi Nwakali.

Dons boss Derek McInnes today backed loan signing Chidi Nwakali to be a hit in the Premiership.

The 21-year-old Nigerian midfielder made his Reds debut in starting the 2-0 friendly loss to Lokomotiv Tashkent in Dubai.

Nwakali has still to receive a work permit to play in Scotland.

He was able to feature against Tashkent because the friendly was not an official game.

Aberdeen hope to secure the needed work permit in time for Nwakali to face St Mirren in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday.

McInnes said: “I have been really delighted with what Chidi has shown.

“He has reinforced the reason why we brought him here.

“Against Tashkent he was very good, although he has not played competitive football for a couple of months.

“It was good to get him 60 minutes, which was the plan.”

Aberdeen have had to wait for a work permit because any player who is over 16 years old and is not from the European Economic Area requires one to play for a British club.

If a player has featured in at least 75% of his country’s competitive international games over the last two years, he will receive an endorsement from the Scottish FA.

However, Nwakali has yet to be capped at senior level for Nigeria, although he was in the squad for November’s friendlies against Argentina and Algeria.

Therefore a three-man appeals panel will now weigh up whether Nwakali would contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in Scotland.

The Dons expect a decision to be made in the next day or so and are confident of securing the work permit.

McInnes said: “Chidi has a bit of everything.

“He has lovely feet and can use the ball and turnover possession for us.

“The Scottish league will be quicker for Chidi and he will have to be ready for that.

“Where he is in his own fitness, that will come through training and games.”

Defender Andrew Considine was not in the squad to face the Uzbekistan league champions after sustaining a thigh injury in training.

McInnes expects the defender to have recovered to face St Mirren.

He said: “Andrew got a wee thigh strain as we were doing a lot of crossing and finishing in the last few days in Dubai.

“He felt it go a bit stiff and sore.

“It was precautionary to leave him out and hopefully it will settle down over the next few days.”