Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes hopes attacker Scott Wright will rediscover top form against Rangers after returning from surgery.
Wright was ruled out for more than a month following an operation on a double hernia in early December.
The 23-year-old returned to action off the bench in the 0-0 draw against Dundee United at Pittodrie.
It was Wright’s first game time since netting in the 2-0 defeat of Hibs at Pittodrie on November 6.
Scott needs to have a really good week now ahead of the Rangers game to try to get him as right as he can be.”
Now McInnes hopes Wright will have a strong week in training to move into contention to start against runaway league leaders Rangers.
In Wright’s absence the Dons have struggled to deliver a consistent cutting edge in attack with the New Firm derby draw the second 0-0 stalemate in three games.
McInnes said: “Scott needs to have a really good week now ahead of the Rangers game to try to get him as right as he can be.
“Like any player when you come back you are still sussing that injury out and getting the confidence.
“Hopefully Scott has that confidence due to the fact he got on the pitch against Dundee United which should help him for the next one against Rangers.
“Ideally Scott can pick up where he left off in being an important player for us.”
Wright had been one of the stand-out performers for Aberdeen this season before suffering the injury during training.
Initial scans indicated there was little of concern but when Wright did not recover as expected he was sent to Manchester to see a specialist for a second opinion.
A double hernia was discovered in subsequent scans and Wright underwent surgery in Manchester.
Wright only returned to full training 48 hours before the clash with Dundee United.
He excelled in those sessions at Cormack Park to the point McInnes had no hesitation in giving the attacker game time against Dundee United.
Now he hopes the play-maker can have a major influence in Sunday’s clash with a Rangers side that has taken 62 points from a possible 66 in the league.
McInnes said: “Scott had trained almost every minute of the session on Thursday.
“We were just trying to make sure that the first day back was okay.
“Then he trained fully on Friday and was outstanding to the point where we thought we could put him in.
Scott being back is a huge boost for us.”
“Obviously Scott didn’t feel ready for that but it was good to get him on the pitch.”
McInnes admits an attacking edge was missing, particularly in the second half, of the New Firm derby.
He hopes the return of Wright can be the catalyst for that attacking spark to rekindle.
He said: “It was a point but with the attacking players we had on the pitch we were looking for more.
“We got in some good areas as there was one moment when Jonny (Hayes) got to the byline and Sam (Cosgrove) and Curtis (Main) were in the middle.
“But they both made the same run and pulled back.
“Curtis lashed one over the bar.
“We looked more reluctant to pull the trigger and put the ball in the box more than we were in the first half.
“Scott being back is a huge boost for us.”
McInnes was left with a sense of two points dropped after the 0-0 draw with Dundee United, the second goal-less stalemate against the Tannadice side this season.
Especially as second placed Celtic lost 1-0 to Rangers and Hibs, in fourth, crashed 3-0 to in form Livingston.
Aberdeen closed the gap slightly on troubled defending champions Celtic to four points although the Hoops, currently at a training camp in Dubai, have a game in hand.
The Reds also extended their advantage over Hibs to three points having played two games less than the Easter Road side.
It should have been more.
McInnes said: “It felt like a missed opportunity than anything gained.
“It is a point gained on other teams but it was the type of game we feel we should be picking up all three points.
“I thought it was less of a dominant performance than it was at Tannadice (0-0 draw, October 18).
“Dundee United were better in the second half at Pittodrie and got confidence.”