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Aberdeen V Hibernian at Pittodrie Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 26 Jan 2013 15:01:31Rss feed
Aberdeen V Hibernian - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Robertson ready for crunch time
Defender Clark Robertson admits Aberdeen face a week that could define their season as they prepare for the first of two games against Hibernian.
Craig Brown's side are looking to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat at Inverness, which saw them slip six points off Caley Thistle and Motherwell in the race for second place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Aberdeen also face Hibs at Easter Road in the last 16 of the William Hill Scottish Cup the following weekend as they look to end their 13-year wait for a major final appearance.
With an SPL trip to Perth to face St Johnstone in between, Robertson knows they need to get off to a good start when Hibs visit Pittodrie.
The left-back said: "This is a massive week for us, three games in seven days that could shape our season potentially. Hopefully we start the week off with a good result on Sunday.
"We need to get back to defending better and taking our chances up field, and we'll definitely win games with the players we have got.
"If we were to win the next two league games and the Scottish Cup tie we would go on a fantastic run and there is no reason why we can't finish high up the league.
"Sunday is crucial to give us confidence going into the other two games, against St Johnstone in the league and Hibs in the Scottish Cup.
"There is no reason why we can't. Everyone is capable of beating everyone in this league and we definitely have a strong enough team to do it."
Robertson has secured a regular starting spot in recent weeks after returning from the knee injury that ended last season prematurely.
The 19-year-old said: "I have started the last seven or eight games so it is good to get a run in the team and get some consistency going.
"I am starting to feel now that I am beginning to get back to my best form but there is still a lot more to come from me this season and I hope the fans will see that.
"I think the manager and Archie (Knox) know what I can do. They know themselves there is a lot more to come and so do I.
"But it has been hard being out for four months. I am getting back to full fitness and enjoying it so hopefully I will get a run in the team."
Aberdeen have no fresh injuries. Gary Naysmith and Ryan Jack are still out but both are scheduled to resume training with the ball next week.
Andrew Considine (broken leg) and Chris Clark (broken ankle) are out for the rest of the season.
Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon will not draw up a special plan to keep in-form Aberdeen striker Niall McGinn quiet.
The Easter Road outfit travel north to Pittodrie for a Clydesdale Bank Premier League rematch just two months after the converted winger-striker stole three points for the Dons with the only goal in Edinburgh.
Northern Ireland international McGinn now has 16 strikes to his name but Fenlon insists the threat will come from the entire Reds attack, rather than one man alone.
And similarly, he does not expect Aberdeen boss Brown to come up with anything spectacular to nullify the threat of his own 15-goal poacher Leigh Griffiths.
Fenlon told Press Association Sport: "Both sides have scored plenty of goals.
"McGinn has grabbed a load for Aberdeen and Leigh has obviously scored a fair few for us. And we have also had Eoin Doyle chipping in with a few too.
"Aberdeen are an attack-minded team and the games we have played have been decent matches for people to watch.
"But we won't go in with a special plan to stop just one player. Our game plan is to play as a team and to try and nullify the threats we think they have, and then exploit the areas that we think we can hurt them.
"They will be in the same situation, so it will be about how the teams perform rather than the individuals."
Fenlon could barely hide his disappointment following November's narrow defeat to the Reds at Easter Road after the match.
The loss cost them the chance to climb above Celtic at the top of the SPL summit and, since then, just two wins have been picked up in the eight subsequent league fixtures.
However, the Leith boss is not worried.
"I'm more than happy with the way things have gone since then. We've had a couple of hiccups but we have played quite well," said Fenlon.
"Our aspirations at that point (of the Aberdeen match) were not to be top of the table but to win football matches.
"The league is so tight that everyone is in the same situation. If you can get a run of four or five wins on the spin, it will take you into a real good situation."
Hibernian midfielder Paul Cairney will return to the squad after serving a one-match ban.
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