Pittodrie boss Derek McInnes has put his defence on red alert on the dangers of half-a-million pound danger man Louis Moult.
During the January transfer window, the Dons gaffer had two bids for the Motherwell striker turned down.
The Steelmen rejected a £400,000 Dons offer and were holding out for £100,000 more.
Half a million looked cheap as Moult rattled in two goals in the 3-0 defeat of Aberdeen in the League Cup quarter-final earlier this season.
Aberdeen gained revenge days later by overturning Well 1-0 in the Fir Park return, effectively snuffing out the attacker’s threat.
Moult, on 12 goals this season, has the ability to punish any slip-up. So McInnes will demand the Reds keep the striker quiet for a second straight game.
McInnes said: “Motherwell have some good players, especially at the top end of the pitch.
“Although they have options, Louis Moult has shown his ability to score against all the teams in the division.
“They get the ball forward quickly to ask the question of you as they have a couple of goal threats, with one in particular in Louis Moult.
“We will have to be mindful of that threat. But also their biggest strength is the work-rate as a team.”
After the move for Moult fell through, the chance to sign Stevie May re-emerged and McInnes moved quickly to secure the Scotland cap from Preston North End in a £400,000 deal until summer 2021.
Motherwell will face Celtic in the League Cup final at Hampden next weekend.
Again Moult was the main orchestrator of the cup run, scoring a brace in the 2-0 semi-final defeat of Rangers.
McInnes reckons there is no way Well boss Steve Robinson will wrap Moult, or any of his players, in cotton wool, to protect them for the final.
McInnes said: “I wouldn’t expect any players at all to be rested for the League Cup final.
“Steve has given opportunities to one or two players recently but I would imagine it will be their strongest squad.
“From the experience we have had if you are into finals it is important for players to keep that match sharpness.
“And having recently had that international break Motherwell will be keen to play their strongest team.”
Motherwell delivered a devastating defeat to the Reds in the League Cup at Fir Park with Moult the main tormentor.
Rarely have the Dons under McInnes been so out-played, out-manoeuvred and out-fought.
It was a sobering way for the side to crash out of the tournament they reached the final of last season and had genuine aspirations of winning.
Returning to the same stadium four days later offered quick redemption.
The Dons grabbed it by winning ugly.
The importance of getting not just revenge, but a win, was not lost on the Dons boss or his squad.
McInnes said: “It was important to get that win against Motherwell because we needed that reaction.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, neither of them were the best of matches.
“We lost one, we won the other.
“Obviously there were mistakes made in the first game but we gave ourselves a better chance to win the second because we had better concentration and were more aggressive.
“There were no mistakes in the second game.
“Both weren’t pretty but it is just important to find a way to win games and thankfully we found a way to get that instant response.”
Motherwell have played with an aggressive, high pressing, high-tempo approach with the ball fed quickly to the attackers under Robinson. It has been highly effective
McInnes warned the Dons about that intensity before the cup quarter-final yet they were caught out. He is determined there will be no repeat tomorrow.
“Motherwell ask the questions of you early on,” he said.
“They don’t mess about and get the ball forward – they have good energy, good aggression and good organisation.
“I think Steve has done a great job getting a team ready and playing to their strength.”
Following that reverse to the Dons, the Steelmen quickly resumed their impressive form, winning four straight matches.
However, that resurgence has hit the buffers in recent weeks with consecutive losses to Hibs (1-0 at home) and Ross County (3-2 away).
McInnes said: “Motherwell are a team I have a high regard for in terms of what they are doing as they have started the season well.
“That is backed up with the fact they are in a cup final and beat ourselves and Rangers on the way to that final against Celtic.
“Motherwell are a more than capable team who are hard working so we have to make sure we are ready to compete .”