Boss Derek McInnes fears loan striker Fraser Hornby’s thigh injury is an “absolute disaster” for Aberdeen.
Stade de Reims centre-forward Hornby suffered a significant tear to his left thigh in the 1-0 defeat of Kilmarnock at the weekend.
However, the Dons, who face Celtic at Parkhead tomorrow, are now walking an attacking tightrope with Florian Kamberi and Callum Hendry the only fit strikers.
Teenage centre-forward Michael Ruth, 19, is sidelined having suffered from bronchitis and glandular fever.
The normal prognosis for a thigh injury such as Hornby’s can be six to eight weeks out.
However, Hornby has informed McInnes he feels good and is confident he can return sooner.
The Dons will re-scan the Scotland Under-21 international’s injury in a few weeks time.
It is hoped a re-scan will deliver positive news that Hornby can return earlier than anticipated to still play a key role in the push for a third-placed finish.
McInnes said: “It is an absolute disaster for us.
“It is really unfortunate and came just as we were getting Fraser up to speed.
“With his second half performance against Celtic and the way he started against Kilmarnock, Fraser was giving us flavour of what he is capable of.
“Fraser is feeling good in terms of how it is actually feeling.
“It doesn’t feel like the type of injury the scan is showing.
“From his own point of view, Fraser thinks he will be back quicker.
“We will re-image that in a couple of weeks and see where we are, but it is a real blow for us.”
INJURY UPDATE | Fraser Hornby
Upon further investigation a scan has shown Fraser has suffered a significant tear on his thigh that will keep him out for a period of time.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) February 23, 2021
Hornby, who moved to the French top flight side from Everton for £1.8 million last summer, was secured on transfer deadline day.
He suffered the injury while shooting early on in the defeat of Kilmarnock – only his fifth appearance for Aberdeen.
On-loan St Johnstone striker Callum Hendry came on as Hornby’s replacement and netted with his first touch to end a club-record six-game scoring drought lasting 574 minutes.
McInnes said: “It is his left thigh, so it is not with repetition from kicking with his right foot which could maybe happen when you have not had a lot of games.
“The fact Fraser has not played a lot of games could be a part in this, who knows.
“Maybe he has just been really unfortunate.”
Teen striker Ruth is also unavailable for back-up.
McInnes said: “We are down to two strikers as young Michael Ruth has been in and out of hospital with first of all bronchitis and then glandular fever over the last two or three weeks.
“He is on antibiotics until next Sunday or Monday and won’t be back with us until next week.
“We have two fit strikers at the minute, so we are delighted Callum has got up and running.”
McInnes revealed winger Jonny Hayes is also a major doubt for the trip to Celtic with a hamstring injury.
He said: “Jonny is improving. Whether he can improve enough for Saturday remains to be seen.
“He is normally quite a quick healer, but it is just a week since he did it at Celtic last Wednesday.
“If he doesn’t make Celtic, we are hopeful Jonny will make Hamilton next week.”
— Evening Express (@EveningExpress) February 25, 2021