The pair are set for more talks after tonight’s match against St Johnstone in Perth is out of the way, with McInnes set to discover what funds will be available to maintain the Dons’ position as Celtic’s closest rivals.
He insists talk of an increased budget played no part in the discussions that led to him surprising most people by turning down the chance to return to the club he once played for.
However the Aberdeen manager will be hoping for an increase in the £850,000 that has been available to spend in the transfer market during four-and-a-half years in charge at Pittodrie.
That went on bringing in Kenny McLean, Stevie May and Gary Mackay-Steven with others arriving on free transfers and loan deals, but with attendances increasing and turnover up by £2 million last season, McInnes is hoping the purse strings will be loosened further now.
McInnes said:”I’m going to see him on Thursday so here’s hoping but there was nothing different said over the last period.
“In terms of what we can do in January we will find out then and we will assess the squad in the next few weeks and see if there is any willingness to rejig things. We brought over a hundred grand in for [Jayden] Stockley and over a £1m in the deal for Jonny Hayes to Celtic so there has been money brought in.
“Some of that has been put back into the squad by paying money for Gary and Stevie as well as re-signing players for the long term so it has been reinvested. But we’ve brought some decent amounts of money in, attendances have been good and we have had an upturn in the revenue. It’s important we get as much value on the pitch as possible and hopefully maintain the standards we have set in the last few years.”
McInnes is relishing the chance to get back to business as usual, even if the bitter fallout between Aberdeen and Rangers over the Ibrox club’s approach for him is still rumbling on.
Milne, pictured, made sure of that when he insisted earlier this week that his manager was due an apology from Rangers “for having a go” at McInnes in their statement released after he rejected a move to Ibrox. The Aberdeen manager refused to comment on the situation at yesterday’s press conference other than to reiterate how much he valued his relationship with Milne, while also hoping his relationship with Niall McGinn will convince him to return to Pittodrie after a dismal time in South Korea.
The winger is a free agent after being released by Gwangju following their recent relegation but is currently recovering from a hernia operation. Hibs and Hearts are also interested in signing McGinn but McInnes is keen to get him back at Aberdeen and said: “Niall is someone we speak to regularly and keep in touch with and we are well aware of his situation.
“He’s just had his operation and is recovering well from that but we know free agents like him will have options. But hopefully there’s some encouragement from Niall to come back here and if there is we hopefully will get the chance to work with him again.”
May and Mackay-Steven are back in the squad for the visit to Perth after missing last Friday’s win at Dundee through injury.
St Johnstone remain without a home win since the end of September, but winger Stefan Scougall is keen to put that record behind them tonight.
“We know that our home performances haven’t been as good as the start of the season when we picked up a couple of wins,” he said. “But I think its important we don’t ponder on that, we know we need to go out and put on a good enough performance.”