Derek McInnes is desperate to avoid fatigue being a factor for Aberdeen this afternoon when they tackle Ross County.
The Dons played for 120 minutes against Kilmarnock in Wednesday’s Scottish Cup replay, eventually prevailing 4-3.
However, the Staggies weren’t in midweek action and as a result should be fresher than the Reds.
But McInnes, who may make some alterations to his side, insists their extertions in Ayrshire can’t be used as an excuse if they fail to win today.
The Pittodrie gaffer said: “It’s always a challenge for any manager trying to get that freshness in the team when they’ve been involved in extra-time.
“Then we’ve got to factor in that four hour journey back to Aberdeen and the lack of sleep.
“We gave the players Thursday off, they were in for a massage in the afternoon but there was no training.
“On Friday we gave them an extra hour bed to try to get them back to normal and well-rested for this game. Ross County will be fresher than us, but we need to make sure that isn’t the talking point after the game.
“We need to get after the game and we’ve experienced it before often enough playing Thursday and then Sunday when we’ve been in Europe.
“We need to bring another strong committed performance to overcome a team that’s fighting for their lives. Players have still got to earn the right to get a starting position.
“There will be players who want to keep going after playing on Wednesday and try to keep the good work going.”
The Dons experienced something similar in the League Cup quarter-final earlier in the season when after a 2-2 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle and subsequent defeat on penalties they had to try to prepare for facing Rangers at Ibrox.
McInnes hopes winning against Killie will give his players a boost and added: “For the players it’s 48 hour recovery period and because of the journey back and when they got back they won’t have had 48 hours until 3.30am today.
“But it’s easier to recover when you’ve won. We know how it felt coming back from Tynecastle having lost on penalties in the League Cup to Hearts.
“We had the physical fatigue from that, but also the mental fatigue. So hopefully winning at Kilmarnock helps with the mental side of the recovery.
“We need to put the cup focus to one side for facing Ross County, but hopefully we can feel the benefit of still being in the cup in this game.
“Ash Taylor is fine even though he came off with his calf on Wednesday. It was more to do with the surface, but he’s fine and trained yesterday. Craig Bryson is feeling his groin a little bit, but he will have a chance depending on how he feels after training.
“Funso Ojo is a doubt for the game. He’s positive and he wants to be involved.
“But we have to be careful because of the nature of where the cut is because bending and forcing his knee may cause problems even though the stitches came out yesterday.
“Funso is positive and if he’s fit he’ll play because we do need that freshness in the team.”
With Aberdeen sitting third in the Premiership, ahead of Motherwell on goal difference, McInnes hopes a win today can be the start of a strong run of form to secure Europa League qualification for a seventh straight season.
He said: “We’ve got 11 games left and we’ve still got time to deal with league business.
“But we need to deal with it now, it’s in our hands to finish third but we need to deal with the games coming our way. We’ve got 11 games and hopefully we can start with a win.
“We spoke before the Hamilton game about the way the season was going and how we couldn’t let it play out like that. The intent that night was there and we got the three points. In the next league game the intent was there.
“We didn’t get the points but we gave ourselves a chance at them with the performance. We need to do the same against Ross County and it’s a tough game, but our intention is to make it tougher for Ross County.”