Aberdeen loan star Nwakali in line to face Accies after illness saw him miss trip to Dingwall

Chidiebere Nwakali.
Chidiebere Nwakali.

Manchester City midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali went on a round trip of more than 9,000 miles to ensure his Dons move didn’t fall through but missed out on the 115-mile drive to Dingwall through illness.

The 21-year-old Nigerian made a trip to Abuja last week to get a visa to enable him to star for the Dons.

Yet Nwakali had to remain at home in the Granite City as the Reds saw off the Staggies 4-2.

Dons boss Derek McInnes is confident Nwakali will be fit to face Hamilton at Pittodrie on Saturday.

He said: “Chidiebere was feeling ill on Tuesday and we took the decision for him not to travel.

“Rather than travel up with the team on Tuesday night and being in a confined space.

“We thought it best he looked after himself back in Aberdeen.

“Unfortunately he wasn’t feeling fit to travel but he will be good to go for Saturday.”

The midfielder, who has aspirations of making the Nigerian squad for the World Cup this summer, signed on loan until the end of the season.

Having agreed the loan deal he met up with the Dons in their warm weather camp in Dubai and played in the 2-0 bounce game defeat to Lokomotiv Tashkent.

However, his debut was delayed as Nwakali waited for a work permit, ruling him out of the games against St Mirren and Rangers.

Nwakali finally made his debut as a late substitute in the 3-1 defeat of Kilmarnock at Pittodrie at the weekend.

He had to jet back to Nigeria to collect a visa which helped him to receive international clearance.

The midfielder’s flight touched down in Aberdeen at 10am on the day of the Killie game.

McInnes said: “I was disappointed for Chidiebere as he did well when he came on against Kilmarnock and had a couple of good days’ training.”

Nwakali was signed as a defensive midfielder, a role the more attack-minded Kenny McLean was utilised in at Dingwall.

McInnes today hailed the impact of McLean in the defeat of Ross County.

The midfielder netted twice in a victory that elevated the Reds back into second spot in the Premiership.

McLean signed for Norwich City during the January transfer window on a three-and-a-half year contract for £200,000.

The Scotland international was then loaned back to Aberdeen from the Championship Canaries until the end of the season.

McInnes said: “Kenny was outstanding from start to finish against Ross County.

“You can play him in the 10, you can play him six or eight, either side of the midfielders.

“Or he can play that more reserved role, dictating play.

“We anticipated Ross County going with two strikers and we wanted to have that controller in front of the centre-halves.

“Kenny did his defensive duties and played close to Arnason and McKenna but he was also producing that first pass for us all the time.

“He takes responsibility.

“It is quite telling that while playing that more reserved role he still got his two goals. He was very instrumental for us.

“He got his goals and that will highlight the performance but he was great being that midfield controller.”

McInnes was left frustrated that the Reds conceded two late goals to Ross County.

However, he admits his substitutions when 4-0 up could have been partly culpable.

He said: “We made some changes but still wanted the same and I am maybe guilty of having one eye on Saturday (v Hamilton).

“McGinn was taken off as we were trying to make sure we gave him the chance to be at his best.

“We took Mackay-Steven off to give others opportunities and we never really had the same flow to our game in the last 15 minutes.

“But the goals we lost were basic.”