Stuart McCall has decision to make ahead of Aberdeen visit

Stuart McCall
Stuart McCall

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall admits he has a decision to make about his bench ahead of tonight’s League Cup tie with Aberdeen.

The competition rules mean he can name only five substitutes, unlike the usual seven in the Scottish Premiership.

He must decide whether to risk naming James McFadden and Lionel Ainsworth who have both recovered from injury but are lacking match fitness.

McCall said: “We are down to five subs and the only dilemma is putting a James McFadden or a Lionel Ainsworth on with 15 minutes to go - that could be more with extra time.

“If it was just a 90-minute job it would be a little bit more straightforward.

“Both players can change games, but it will take them a bit of time to get up to speed, and we also have Craig Moore, Bob McHugh and Henri Anier who could make an impact in their own right.

“If you speak to any physio or fitness coach they would say your substitutes should be ready to go on from the first kick of the ball.”

Aberdeen won on their last visit to Fir Park and got the better of recent cup ties between the sides, but McCall says history doesn’t matter.

He said: “It might change how they look at it, but everyone knows what a big game it is for both us and them.

“I was speaking to Derek McInnes a few weeks ago at an under-20s game and it is a tie I don’t think ether side thought was great.

“We have the slight advantage of being at home, but much like the other three ties it will be hard to pick a winner, even if Aberdeen go in as slight favourites given their weekend performance compared to ours.

“Sunday was a bad day at the office. Perhaps I picked the wrong formation and certainly six or seven of the boys had their poorest game of the season, but I have heard Aberdeen described as flying this season when we are only a point behind them.”

Motherwell reached the Scottish Cup final in McCall’s first season and with the winners tonight going into the semi-final he added: “We are treating this as a cup final. We have said since the start of the season we want to progress as far as we can in the cups and would love to get to the semi-final.

“If we do progress I’m not saying it will be any easier as all the sides are so close. Maybe if we win we might be considered favourites, but I’m sure other teams would have something to say about that.”