McInnes happy with Dons’ fitness levels

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists his squad’s fitness levels are on track for the Euro tie with RoPS.

Now the focus is on finding that creative spark in time for the Europa League first qualifying round first leg.

The Dons are now back at Pittodrie having spent a week at a training camp in Cork.

That culminated in a 0-0 draw with Connah’s Quay Nomads in a friendly at Fota Island resort.

Aberdeen will next face Peterhead at Balmoor in a friendly tomorrow as the build up to the Europa League tie on July 11 intensifies.

McInnes said: “The positives from the game against Connah’s Quay were the fitness levels shown by the players.

“We look strong on that side of it.

“Although we took the majority of the players off after 60 minutes every one of them came off thinking they could have done more minutes.

“The fitness levels of the players was a positive and it was a good week for us out in Cork.

“The players have worked extremely hard.

“We returned to Aberdeen knowing that players had built that fitness level up.

“Now it is all about trying to fine tune our work and trying to find our best form.

“To try to find that creativity, spark, speed and penetration that every team needs.”

Aberdeen faced the Welsh Premier League side in hot conditions where the mercury exceeded 25C.

The only outfield player to complete the entire 90 minutes was recent signing Jon Gallagher.

On loan from Atlanta United, Gallagher played the entire match because he was involved in competitive game action with his parent club just two weeks earlier.

McInnes said: “Connah’s Quay had 11 men behind the ball and the onus was on us to find a way (to break them down).

“I was pleased to have come through the game with no new injuries.

“We had a lot of possession, it was a bit slow and the pitch was a bit dry.

“When the other team are surrendering possession it can get a bit monotonous, some of the play.”

Connah’s Quay Nomads are set to face Kilmarnock in the Europa League first qualifying round.

McInnes reckons the Rugby Park side will be favourites to progress if they reproduce their form from last season – but it will be a tough test.

He said: “The onus will be on Kilmarnock to break them down.

“Kilmarnock are a good counter-attacking team but they might not get the chance to show that.

“Connah’s Quay have good European experience, Andy (Morrison, manager) has them well organised and he barks instructions the whole way through.

“That was their third clean sheet of pre-season and you can see why.

“They will be tough to break down but once it becomes more competitive I’m sure Kilmarnock have the players who can cause them problems, as we have, we just didn’t show it enough.

“Kilmarnock will be favourites but you can see the confidence in the Connah’s team.

“They are clearly used to winning and have a fantastic spirit about them.

“They have a physicality, long throws and can impose themselves, but if Killie hit the form they hit last season they will be favourites.

“Kilmarnock will have their work cut out though as they will have to produce a performance to get past those boys.”