Aberdeen V Hibernian at Pittodrie Stadium : Match Preview

09 January 2014 04:31
Aberdeen V Hibernian - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McInnes: Butcher has changed Hibs

Derek McInnes believes his Aberdeen side will on Friday take on a Hibernian team already bearing new boss Terry Butcher's stamp.

The former England skipper Butcher replaced Pat Fenlon in mid-November and since then has rejuvenated a previously jittery Easter Road squad.

Their only defeat since the ex-Inverness boss arrived came at home to runaway Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic, while the January 2 win over city rivals Hearts has allowed the Leith faithful to show their faces in Edinburgh for the first time this season after Fenlon's team lost the first two derbies of the year to the crisis-hit Jambos.

McInnes' men now welcome Hibs to Pittodrie and the Dons manager paid tribute to Butcher's impact.

He told RedTV: "I think it's going to be a tough match. They are in a fantastic bit of form at the moment, the biggest compliment I can pay Terry Butcher and his team is that I am not surprised they have improved.

"He finds ways to win games and his players look as if they are well versed in what he demands. Hibs have always had good players but I think they have an identity now and it's not too dissimilar to how his Inverness team played."

Aberdeen will be without defender Michael Hector after he was recalled by his parent club Reading following a six-month stint in the Granite City.

McInnes, though, has already replaced him by borrowing Alan Tate from Swansea and the boss admits he could dip into the transfer market again.

He said: "I am really happy with the squad as it stands but in terms of looking at anything else it would be remiss of us not to keep our ear to the ground and keep abreast of any situation that may develop.

"I will always be interested in players who I think can help us achieve what I think we can achieve this season.

"I think the boys have really applied themselves well and there's a good spirit amongst the team but if there was someone who could help us I would certainly ask the question."

Meanwhile, Butcher claims the "natural shedding" of players will help to freshen up his Hibernian squad.

The Hibees boss, who took over at Easter Road in November, refused to confirm reports that Rowan Vine, Tom Taiwo, Tim Clancy and Kevin Thomson, who are all out of contract in the summer, have been told they are free to find other clubs during the January transfer window.

However, ahead of the Scottish Premiership clash against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Friday night, Butcher did acknowledge that conversations have taken place and that changes are planned.

"My phone was besieged after the initial report came out," said Butcher, when asked about the four aforementioned players.

"I certainly have had talks with players and with other managers, coaches and agents about bringing players in as well.

"Those conversations will remain private and I won't say anything until something does happen either way.

"But when you have a squad as big as we have with experienced players who aren't playing, then they are not going to be happy and sometimes you have to say, 'look, I can't offer you this or that, it is probably best if you move on'.

"It is very amicable, it is part of football life.

"There is a natural shedding of players when it comes to the January transfer window as well as the summer when the contracts are up.

"It is a natural progression where players move on but I don't have to get players out to get players in.

"I am looking to get new faces in, we certainly want to freshen things up but it is hard, you generally don't do much business until the last two week."

Alex Harris returns to the Hibs squad having recovered from a broken foot which has kept him out since last August.

Source: PA

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