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McInnes refuses to take risks over Devlin fitness

McInnes refuses to take risks over Devlin fitness
© Reuters
The centre-back could miss the Betfred Cup final with Celtic because of injury.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes will take no risks with the fitness of Michael Devlin during Sunday’s Betfred Cup final.

The centre-back has only an outside chance of facing Celtic at Hampden after suffering a foot injury while on international duty earlier this month.

The former Hamilton captain – who missed the whole of last season through injury – was in line for a Scotland debut amid injuries to other defenders, and will have to prove his fitness to avoid another major blow.

“Cup finals don’t come round all the time and Michael’s had a lot of disappointments, obviously missing out on Scotland and a couple of real sore injuries, a real test of his character and professionalism to come through those,” McInnes said.

“So he has overcome a lot of disappointment and of course he would want to be there, but he’s got to be right.

“We would never put a boy at risk if there’s a risk of putting him out for much longer.”

On Devlin’s chances of playing, McInnes said: “Hopeful and trying to be as positive as we can because obviously he is a very important player for us. The medical staff are a bit non-committal at the minute.

“When I first took the call when he was away with Scotland, we anticipated prior to the scan that he had no chance, he was out. It was a real blow to us and we kind of dealt with it then.

“Post scan the feeling was he had an outside chance and we are going to run with that. We’ll prepare this week for without him and with him.

“He’s had good days and bad days – today wasn’t a good day, the weekend was better.

“He would have to train fully by Friday for me if he’s going to start the game but while we’ve got a chance, we’ll give him every encouragement to be fit.”

Devlin’s absence was keenly felt as Aberdeen went down to a 3-0 defeat at Motherwell on Saturday.

McInnes also has Mark Reynolds and Tommie Hoban missing from his central defence on a long-term basis and Andrew Considine, normally a left-back, lined up there at Fir Park.

“Every manager wants their players to be fit and available, especially their better players and their more influential players, but me standing over my physios berating them and threatening them that he’s got to be fit isn’t going to get the job done. We had one change on Saturday from the team that was so good against Hibs, and that was obviously Michael.

“But it was a poor team performance on Saturday. You don’t win a game with one player, you don’t lose a game because of one player.

“I can’t get too hung up here, I’ve got a responsibility for my whole squad to be ready for Sunday. It can’t just be dependent on one player, and we’re not. But ideally we’d like him to be fit.”

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