Brown warns of United threat
Aberdeen manager Craig Brown knows Dundee United are vulnerable in defence, but is wary of the visitors returning from Pittodrie with all three points after Wednesday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash.
United are without a win in four matches and are winless in 10 games at their Tannadice home, but have won four of their nine away matches this term.
Brown's Dons, meanwhile, have three home wins from 10 attempts.
"Dundee United I always think are a smashing team, a good football team," Brown, who watched United lose 4-3 to St Mirren on Sunday, told RedTV. "They're very dangerous. It's a very difficult game, even more difficult because they play better away and so do we, unfortunately.
"Before the (St Mirren) game they were bemoaning the fact that they hadn't won in nine home games.
"That makes 10 home games, which means they must be getting an awful lot of points away from home, because they've got 25 points.
"They're dangerous opponents and very good from middle to front but they're a bit vulnerable at the back and maybe a bit more so because (Brian) McLean was sent off."
Brown admires United strike duo Johnny Russell and Jon Daly in particular, but the visitors may shift striker Daly to defence with McLean suspended.
That could play to the Dons' advantage as they seek to win ahead of the winter break, which Brown believes is coming at the right time for his stretched squad.
Captain Russell Anderson is in line for his 350th appearance for Aberdeen on Wednesday.
Hegarty predicts crucial clash at Aberdeen
Dundee United assistant manager Paul Hegarty believes the clash is crucial in the context of the season.
United entered the new year in eighth place in a congested SPL table - Peter Houston's men are nine points off second place in the standings - after a 10-match winless run at home and a current four-match streak without a victory.
Hegarty believes victory at Pittodrie against Aberdeen could provide the required boost to turn the tide in United's favour.
"It would be great to get a result with the winter break coming up; to go in with a victory," said Hegarty, who spent 16 years at United as a player and enjoyed some memorable encounters with the Dons. "When you start the season again you've got a bit more confidence.
"We've got to make sure we do well and hopefully get a result."
Houston and first-team coach Gary Kirk watched Aberdeen beat Dundee 3-1 last Saturday with a hat-trick from in-form Niall McGinn and United are aware of the challenge that awaits at Pittodrie.
"We've got a game on our hands, but hopefully we can appease our fans," Hegarty said. "These games are always important because you have bragging rights in the north east.
"These games probably define your season. We've got to try to get back to winning ways and if we can do that we'll be delighted."
The straight red card shown to defender Brian McLean against St Mirren means United will be forced into a defensive reshuffle.
Unless Sean Dillon recovers sooner than expected from a thigh injury, captain Jon Daly is likely to drop back from striker to centre-back, while midfielder Willo Flood (groin) is doubtful after going off midway through the first half of the 4-3 loss to the Buddies.