McInnes confident in squad
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is confident he will have a squad strong enough to cope with the demands of the second half of the season.
The Dons boss is aiming to bolster his defence over the coming weeks after admitting he has been left a little light in the rearguard position at the midway point.
But McInnes intends to make full use of next month's transfer window to ensure he has the personnel at his disposal as Aberdeen bid to build on their third place position in the Scottish Premiership at the moment.
He said: "Clark Robertson won't be fit until February, Mark Reynolds will be fit for next week, and we are still waiting on scan results coming back for Andy Considine.
"But he will probably be out for a few games anyway so we are a little light defensively.
"Michael Hector will go back [to Reading] after the Kilmarnock game on the fifth so I do believe we will have to strengthen defensively in January.
"Whether that can be done at the start of January, or as we go through it, remains to be seen.
"But we're confident we can bring in the necessary players that can help us meet the demands that's put on us."
Next up is the visit of a Motherwell side on Boxing Day who McInnes believes have quietly crept up on the league's pacesetters.
He said: "Not a lot of people have spoken about them but Motherwell have been very consistent over the last few seasons.
"They got themselves into Europe and they lost a few players but they've still got that familiarity about them as a hard working team.
"They've got goals in them, they've got good experience.
"Although they were disappointed to go out of the Scottish Cup, it has kind of masked how well they have been doing and the consistency they have still shown in the league.
"There has been enough spoken about ourselves and Inverness and Dundee United of late but Motherwell have just tucked in there a point behind us all and they've got everybody's respect.
"We fully expect a tough match. We have beaten them twice but they've got players who can cause problems and players who are in decent form at the minute.
"They'll come here buoyant after their last couple of results."
McInnes called for Dons fans to come out in their numbers for Thursday's clash at Pittodrie.
He said: "The fans have been fantastic in their numbers, with their vocal support on the road. But we crave that support at home again, to really get behind the team.
"The home crowd is up this season and it's been brilliant.
"We want a bigger crowd again if we can for the Motherwell game.
"It's going to be really important that it's a collective effort against one of our main rivals, against a team who have finished above us handsomely in the last few seasons.
"We need everybody playing their part - the support and the players, chipping in together to try to get a result because it is an important game for us.
"A strong home support can hopefully help us to have a strong home performance."
Midfielder Stuart Carswell believes Motherwell can set down a marker for their challenge for second place when they face Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday.
Motherwell have only taken one point against their fellow top-six teams this season but they sit one point off second, and the Dons, thanks to 10 victories against sides in the bottom half of the Scottish Premiership.
Stuart McCall's side are fresh from a 3-0 victory over St Mirren that saw them play their most fluent football of the season and Carswell is determined to build on the display.
The 20-year-old said: "Obviously they are on form just now and they and Dundee United are being talked about for second place, but I don't think we will be far away at the end of the season.
"So if we can go up there and put a marker down by beating them, we can kick on from there.
"They have been playing well. I watched the Inverness game and you can't ask for much better than four goals in the first half against a team that's second in the league.
"I think with the squad they have got, as well as Dundee United, they should be up there in the league. Our squad is not as big but I'm sure the quality we have got in the dressing room is there so I don't see why we shouldn't kick on."
Motherwell have not lost at Pittodrie for more than five years but they have suffered two defeats against the Dons this season, and one of them was particularly painful for Carswell and his team-mates.
Aberdeen had Joe Shaughnessy sent off in the early stages of their League Cup quarter-final but held firm and scored two goals in the closing moments.
Carswell said: "It wasn't just the defeat, it was so hard to take after they got a man sent off as well. A few of us are hurting from that and we have a point to prove.
"A victory up there would be massive for us, especially the way we are playing now. At the weekend, that was one of the best performances of the season so the boys will be up for it and raring to go."