ADAM ROONEY has warned opposition defences that Aberdeen’s attack is only going to get better now that David Goodwillie has signed a contract extension with the Pittodrie club.
Manager Derek McInnes initially gave the former Blackburn Rovers striker a season to prove his worth after a dismal spell at Ewood Park following his £2 million transfer from Dundee United.
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Off-the-field problems didn’t help the former Scotland international to settle down south but he has responded positively to the opportunity for redemption at Pittodrie.
Goodwillie’s current tally of five goals suggest he hasn’t yet rediscovered the form that brought 40 goals in 85 starts during his formative years at Tannadice. However, the quality of his movement and link-up play has been a major factor in Aberdeen’s own renaissance this season, something strike partner Rooney has benefited from.
The Irishman, himself rescued by McInnes from a nightmare spell at Oldham Athletic last January, is Scotland’s top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions this season. That form was recently rewarded with a contract extension until May 2018 and now Goodwillie’s contribution has been recognised with a contract that will carry him through at least the end of next season.
Rooney is convinced ending uncertainty about the longevity of the partnership can only increase its potency. “The more you play with someone the better understanding you have,” he said. “Since ‘Goody’ has come in he has been great. All the lads get on well with him and you can see his quality and the influence he has on the team.
“We have linked up well together since he has come in and we have that good understanding on the pitch. That will develop the more we play but we are enjoying playing with each other at the minute. We are creating chances for each other. Last few weeks he has set me up and I have set him up. That is something we want to develop but there is pressure on us as well from Lawrence Shankland and Declan McManus, who has come back from being on loan.”
Shankland is the top scorer in the Development League, while McManus scored 12 goals for Morton before being recalled from his loan period earlier this month. That leaves McInnes with plenty of attacking options but he is forced to make at least one change at Perth tonight as Ash Taylor is out for a month after a knee operation. The Aberdeen manager is trying to arrange cover by bringing in a centre back on loan from England for the rest of the season but it looks like Andrew Considine will move over to cover for now.
McInnes has continually played down talk of his team mounting a lasting title challenge to Celtic, but he is excited at the prospect of going top with a win this evening.
That may only last for a few hours as Celtic play at Dingwall at lunchtime on Saturday, but the Aberdeen manager wants his players to rise to the challenge with the same determination that rescued a 3-3 draw with Dundee last weekend.
McInnes said: “If we win on Friday night we go top of the league no matter what. That’s a great incentive at any stage of the season.
“We are not too obsessed about who is top but it’s good motivation for any team.”