Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has backed his loan strike trio to deliver the attacking “punch” his team needs in the coming weeks.
McInnes has been under pressure, with Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Hibs at Easter Road leaving the Dons, who have a game in hand, five points behind their Edinburgh rivals for third spot, which could potentially guarantee UEFA Conference League group stage football beyond December next season.
However, he retains the backing of the Dons board and will be in the dugout for Saturday’s Premiership clash with St Mirren.
One of Aberdeen’s main issues this term has been lacklustre attacking play, which has seen them fail to score in four matches. No striker has netted from open play since December 12.
The Dons had just one shot on target at Easter Road, from midfielder Ross McCrorie.
At the end of the transfer window, the Reds sold last season’s top-scorer Sam Cosgrove to Birmingham City for £2 million, while also letting Curtis Main leave for Shrewsbury Town.
The end of Marley Watkins’ loan saw him return to parent club Bristol City and Bruce Anderson has been sent to fellow Premiership side Hamilton for the season, where he has two assists in two games so far.
To complete his striker shake-up, McInnes landed loan deals for forwards Fraser Hornby (Stade de Reims), Callum Hendry (St Johnstone) and Florian Kamberi (St Gallen).
Hornby started the 2-0 defeats to Livingston and Hibs and has looked isolated, while Hendry came off the bench in both fixtures.
However, former Hibs and Rangers player Kamberi’s arrival from Switzerland has been delayed as he is still waiting for a work permit.
Backing his new additions to start firing, McInnes said: “Hornby, Hendry and Kamberi, when we can get him in, they will help us, but it will take time.
“Kamberi knows the league, he’s been a good performer at this level,
“Hornby will do well for us once he gets up to speed and gets minutes under his belt.
“Hendry is a like for like to get Bruce Anderson more game time at Accies and to give Callum an opportunity to impress here.
“Once those three get up to speed, they’ll give us more punch at the top end of the pitch.”
There had been reports McInnes would be relieved of his duties if Aberdeen failed to win at Hibs, but, as things stands, his close to eight-year reign will continue when sixth-place St Mirren visit Pittodrie on Saturday.
McInnes wants to go into the game offering more in the final third.
He said: “The important thing is for us to work hard in training and to create more of a goal threat and get back to winning ways next Saturday.”
On the blow of defeat at Hibs, McInnes added: “It was a big game for us, as Hibs fixtures always are, and it’s disappointing to come away having lost.
“Hibs are clearly making a big play to finish third this season. They’ve held on to their players through the window despite big money offers, and they have added to their squad.
“The games between us are obviously important ones with regards to the final positions in the league.
“We’ve won the last two, but sadly we lost this one.”
Greg Leigh is a major injury doubt for Saturday’s clash with the Buddies, having left Easter Road on crutches.
The Jamaica international, who had only recently returned from a similar injury, was forced off with a hamstring problem after just five minutes and following a foot race with Hibs’ Chris Cadden.
It is understood the extent of the injury is still being assessed.