McInnes won’t rule out more Aberdeen transfer swoops if right men become available

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

Dons boss Derek McInnes today refused to rule out adding more signings before the transfer window closes.

McInnes’ Dons will tonight face rivals Rangers at Ibrox.

Aberdeen hold a three-point lead over third-placed Gers in the fight to be the main challengers to Celtic this season.

To strengthen that bid McInnes has already secured Northern Ireland cap Niall McGinn until 2021 and Manchester City midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali on loan until the end of the season.

Nigerian Nwakali will not face Rangers as his work permit will not be processed in time.

McInnes reckons Gers’ superior spending power made them hot favourites to finish ahead of the Dons this season.

He insisted he could yet add to his squad before the window closes to help beat those odds.

McInnes turned down the Rangers job in December and can expect a hostile reception tonight.

But he isn’t concerned, as all he is focused on is dumping the Light Blues.

He said: “If someone I thought (could come in and) could meet the objectives we have then I would see before the window closes.

“The squad is strong as we still have people coming back from injury and to get up to speed.

“However, you can never say never (on new signings), although there will be nothing imminent this week.”

McInnes has been linked with Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch, who is out of contract at the end of the season. He has also been linked with Motherwell’s Chris Cadden, who has 18 months left on his deal.

McInnes has a policy of not commenting on transfer speculation but has admitted he is interested in Hamilton defender Mikey Devlin.

Tonight will be McInnes’ first time at Ibrox since he rejected Rangers’ approach to take over the managerial post.

He had been the leading contender for the position since Pedro Caixinha was axed.

Rangers finally made their move just days after inflicting back-to-back league defeats on Aberdeen.

Rangers issued a thinly-veiled swipe at McInnes in an official statement following his snub in December.

A hostile reception from the near 50,000-strong home support can be expected for McInnes, who played for Rangers from 1995 to 2000.

However, McInnes is not concerned about his reception – all his focus is on the Dons.

Asked if he anticipated a hostile reaction, he said: “Who knows. It is not what is important to me.

“What is important to me is the performance of my players. It is important that we equip ourselves better than we did the last time we were at Ibrox (3-0 loss in November).

“If we give the performance we are capable of we can get three points, like we did last year at Ibrox.

“However, if we win, draw or lose the game there is still work to be done. Nothing is going to be decided tonight and there is still plenty of football ahead.”

Rangers inflicted two quick-fire defeats (3-0 Ibrox, 2-1 Pittodrie) earlier this season as speculation linking McInnes to the Gers post intensified.

In retrospect, was that a factor in the defeats?

“I don’t know,” he said.

“There will be a lot of comment before the game at Ibrox, there will be a lot of comment after the game.

“But what is important is the actual performance on the pitch.

“The players are honest enough to know that we are better than they performed that night at Ibrox.”

Rangers strengthened in the winter window with loans for Jason Cummings (Nottingham Forest), Jamie Murphy (Brighton) and Russell Martin (Norwich).

McInnes said: “Rangers were huge favourites at the start of the season to finish second with the money available.

“The signings they have made have reinforced that tag as they have made good additions.

“Not many clubs, only Rangers and Celtic, have the ability to go and sign that level of player.

“Rangers have signed three internationals in one window so they have made good short-term signings.

“I have no doubt that will strengthen them.

“However, we are also trying to improve on the first half of the season by signing McGinn and Nwakali and getting more from existing players.”

Defender Scott McKenna returns from suspension tonight, while fellow centre-back Kari Arnason is back from injury.

Ryan Christie will travel to Ibrox despite sustaining a knee knock in the 4-1 Scottish Cup defeat of St Mirren.

Nigerian midfielder Nwakali is ruled out for Ibrox as his work permit is not through yet.

“Unfortunately Chidiebere isn’t available,” said McInnes.

“There has been good progression on getting the work permit approved but we are not there yet.

“He will have a real chance of being available for Saturday.”

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