Evening Express

Dons boss McInnes looks to add to his firepower for Premiership opener

Gary Mackay-Steven has stepped up as penalty taker in the early season

Dons boss Derek McInnes confirmed he aims to secure a new striker before the Premiership kick-off against Rangers.

Aberdeen host the Ibrox club on Sunday and he hopes to have signed a centre-forward to beef up his attack in time for the domestic opener.

McInnes was looking to sign a striker before the 11pm UEFA registration deadline for the Europa League second qualifying round last Wednesday but could not push through the right deal.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes

The Dons faced Premier League Burnley with Sam Cosgrove and Stevie May as the only centre-forwards available following the transfer of Adam Rooney to Salford City.

Aberdeen drew 1-1 with the Clarets and must now score at Turf Moor in Thursday’s second leg.

The Reds will have to face Burnley with Cosgrove and May as the only striker options.

However, McInnes hopes to add more firepower in time to face Rangers in Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard’s first domestic game as the Ibrox club’s boss.

McInnes said: “We are still working away to try to bring one (striker) in for the first game domestically.

“I am still looking to try to add to the squad and have looked at a few things.

“However, at the top end of the pitch a striker is always the most difficult to bring in.

“That is why clubs are reluctant to lose those types of player at times.

“But we will try.”

Aberdeen have been linked with a move for Forest Green Rovers striker Christian Doidge.

Sunderland, Peterborough and Bradford are all interested in Doidge, 25, who scored 25 goals last season.

However, Forest Green value Doidge at £750,000 which would be too much for Aberdeen.

The Dons recently had a bid of £250,000 rejected by Doncaster Rovers for striker John Marquis.

At the time McInnes admitted they could not go any higher with a bid for Marquis.

The transfer of Rooney, the Dons’ leading scorer for the last four seasons, to Salford yielded a six-figure transfer fee.

However, the three quarters of a million Forest Green want for Doitch puts him out of their price range.

McInnes had enquired about a £300,000 move for Preston’s Eoin Doyle but it is understood personal terms could not be agreed with the former Hibs striker.

Aberdeen have also been linked with a potential loan move for Preston striker Louis Moult, although it is understood there has been no recent contact from the Reds.

McInnes said: “We’ve got a few irons in the fire and are constantly working to try to make the squad as strong as possible for the season.

“I can’t be railroaded into making signings just for the sake of it because we’re playing Burnley.”

January signing Sam Cosgrove, 21, started for the Dons in the Europa League first leg against Burnley at Pittodrie.

He is likely to lead the line in the return in Burnley on Thursday having impressed against the Premier League outfit.

Cosgrove won the penalty that was converted by Gary Mackay-Steven to put Aberdeen in front.

McInnes said: “Sam was £20,000 from Carlisle reserves so we don’t want to put too much on him, but he is learning quickly.

“He was up against an England international in James Tarkowski, a Premier League player for the last few seasons and a brilliant operator.

“Sam did really well and the Burnley defenders will certainly remember having played against him.

“He is getting better and better and he was very important for us.

“We are getting him more equipped tactically and trying to fine tune his game but he has the good raw materials.

“He is no slouch, a good size and just needs to be a wee bit cuter with his work at the right times and see the importance of not just being a team player but getting among the goals.”