Aberdeen ‘strong enough’ to advance without injured Adam Rooney

Adam Rooney is injured and will miss the game in Cyprus. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Adam Rooney is injured and will miss the game in Cyprus. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Tony Docherty insists Aberdeen are strong enough to cope without Adam Rooney during Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Apollon Limassol.

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The Dons head to Cyprus holding a 2-1 advantage after winning last week’s third qualifying round first leg at Pittodrie.

But they have travelled without chief poacher Rooney after the Irishman failed a last-minute fitness test.

Rooney missed last week’s clash with a hamstring strain but - after watching Ryan Christie and skipper Graeme Shinnie fire the goals which put Derek McInnes’ men in command - Docherty is confident Aberdeen will not lack for firepower.

McInnes’ assistant boss said: “We hoped Adam would be fit and gave him every chance to do that.

“We had him out this morning but he’s just fallen short.

“It’s nothing serious and he’ll be back in contention for Sunday’s match. He just won’t make this one. But we’re equipped with a squad that can go over there and in his absence get the job done.

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“Coping without your top goalscorer from any team is a big loss. But we have a squad this year that has people ready to come in and take his place.

“We carry a threat at the top end of the pitch, we have midfielders that can weigh in with goals, while we’re also a goal threat from set plays.

“We would love Adam to be here but we’re confident we’ve got the players to get the job done.”

The Dons booked their date with Limassol by beating Siroki Brijeg in the previous round, but only after following up a 1-1 draw at home with an impressive 2-0 victory in Bosnia.

This time, McInnes’ team hold the whip hand - but Docherty admits Aberdeen can take nothing for granted.

“These games are never won after the first leg,” he said. “But the important thing from our previous experience in Bosnia is that we’re going over there with an advantage now.

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“We realise we have a difficult opponent and that we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them, we need to have a game plan that we execute to a man.

“If we’re organised, carry enough threat and are concentrated enough then hopefully we’ll get the right result. But we know there is work to do.”

This is the fourth Europa League campaign in a row that McInnes has overseen after replacing Craig Brown in 2013.

On his three previous attempts, the Dons have battled through to the third qualifying round before tumbling out, with Spanish big guns Real Sociedad, Kazakh outfit FC Kairat and Maribor of Slovenia their conquerors.

But Docherty hopes this is the year they fight their way to the play-off round.

“Hopefully that is a motivating factor,” he said. “It wasn’t a nice flight back from Maribor last year, particularly with the way we got put out.

“So we will use that to motivate the boys. We will make sure we’re coming back on a happier plane looking forward to the next tie.”

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