Evening Express

Aberdeen boss McInnes wants defender to face Dundee but striker still a priority

Aberdeen's Scott McKenna

Dons boss Derek McInnes hopes to sign a defender before the weekend to ease a back-line crisis but admits securing a goal scoring striker remains his No 1 priority.

McInnes has been trying throughout the summer to sign a centre-forward but now has to also search the market for defensive cover ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Dundee as his rearguard has been rocked by injury and suspensions.

He thought his defence had been strengthened with the addition of versatile Watford centre-back Tommie Hoban on a season-long loan deal.

Hoban started in both Euro ties against Burnley but is out for the next three weeks with a knee injury.

Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna will be sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring tear and centre-back Mark Reynolds is out for the year having undergone knee surgery last month.

Right-back Shay Logan is suspended.

It is an unwanted defensive problem McInnes will have to deal with as he searches for a striker to add firepower to an attack weakened with the transfer of leading scorer Adam Rooney to English fifth tier Salford City for a six figure sum.

McInnes said: “We would like to bring in a defender before the Dundee game and are trying.

“However, the priority has always been elsewhere to be honest.

“A striker has been our main priority and remains so.

“We just need to use what money we have got wisely because we know the injury situation will clear up defensively in time. However, it just shows you sometimes what can happen when you don’t run with a big squad.”

The English transfer window slammed shut at 5pm yesterday.

Although English sides can no longer sign new additions they can sell or send players out on loan.

McInnes hopes that now teams south of the border have more clarity on their squads it can help his quest to sign a striker.

He said: “The closure of the transfer window down south may help as it will become a wee bit more clearer.

“Clubs in England will have that clarity in what they are trying to do.

“Ultimately, it then becomes a bit more clearer for us in who may or may not be available.

“There are a lot of current conversations going on with clubs and a lot of it is dependent on what business they do and where others may fall for us and where they are in the pecking order of the club.”

Despite the current injury and suspension problems McInnes is confident he has strengthened his defence during the summer.

Centre-back Mikey Devlin was signed in January but was recovering from a long term knee injury.

Devlin finally made his competitive Dons debut six months after signing when starting in the 1-1 draw against Burnley in the Europa League second qualifying round first leg. Crucially, the Dons also retained wanted man McKenna beyond that English transfer deadline.

Championship Swansea had contacted the Dons to inquire about the availability of McKenna, with McInnes recently claiming it would take a mega offer to even test the Reds resolve to retain the 21-year-old.

“We feel as though we have made good acquisitions defensively,” he said.

“Although we do not have everyone available at the minute we feel we have done well with Mikey Devlin and Tommie Hoban.

“I am really pleased with both of them.

“However, we could do with some help in trying to get that No 9 in as well.

“We will keep trying and there is still a couple of weeks of our transfer window to go yet.”