Banks o’ Dee co-manager Tommy Forbes is expecting “another challenge” in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup against Aberdeen Reserves.
Dee will be the away team at their own Spain Park against Paul Sheerin’s colts, who have agreed to play all of their “home” ties in this year’s competition at their opponents’ grounds.
The second-round tie is one Forbes knows will push the Junior Superleague champions.
He said: “It’ll be another challenge, against obviously a full-time young Aberdeen side.
“I’m not sure if they’ll be sprinkled with (first-team players), but a few of them will have first-team experience, anyway. It’ll be a tough evening for us – but at Spain Park – they’re the home team, hopefully that’ll help us a bit.”
Forbes thinks, compared to his part-time outfit, the fitness and sharpness of the Dons Reserves will be much higher than junior and Highland League opposition.
Dee blasted past Highland high-flyers Inverurie Locos 5-1 away from home in the first round, while Sheerin’s team defeated Buckie Thistle 4-0 at Victoria Park.
Forbes said: “We’ve got to be aware they’ve got lots of good, young players with points to prove. They want to get in the first team. They will be sharper but these are the types of games you want to play. It’s a bonus game for us because we didn’t enter the Aberdeenshire Cup last year, just the Shield.
“We’ve got all of our players back. We’re starting to get everybody back slowly from injuries and holidays.”
While Dee are prioritising, as expected, retaining their Superleague crown this term, Forbes says they are aiming for as many cup runs as possible. They’ll play in the North/Tayside Cup, the North Regional Cup, Scottish Junior Cup and Aberdeenshire Shield, alongside the Shire Cup and other trophies.
Dee exited the Scottish Cup proper after drawing another junior powerhouse, Auchinleck Talbot, away.
Forbes and co-boss Jamie Watt’s team will be missing captain Josh Winton due to work commitments, while Ryan Hall, Kieran Heads – who is recovering from surgery this week – and Matt Robertson are out injured.
One problem Forbes is looking to address against the Dons is Dee’s recent tendency to concede early.
He said: “We’ve conceded first in our past four games, that’s something we need to address.
“We cannot let Aberdeen get in front.”