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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes talks up Motherwell ahead of showdown

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is not surprised to see Motherwell still challenging for third and feels the battle for European spots will go on beyond Friday’s encounter.

The Dons are one place behind Motherwell in fourth in the Ladbrokes Premiership – as they were before their previous two meetings this season.

Aberdeen won 3-0 at Fir Park in October and Motherwell extended their lead to four points in January with a 1-0 win at Pittodrie with the gap back down to a point ahead of Friday’s clash in Lanarkshire.

“There was a lot on that game then,” McInnes said of their first meeting. “There was a lot of focus on how well Motherwell were doing and rightly so.

“I remember saying prior to that game when I was asked if Motherwell could sustain it, I thought they would. I said they would be in and around us at the end of the season and that is where they are.

“It is a big game. I said last week before the Hibs game that the likelihood is we would play Hibs, Motherwell and Livingston twice. They are the teams around us who can really affect us finishing third.

“These head-to-heads with teams in and around you are always big games but there is added significance when there are only eight games to go.

“Nothing is going to be decided if we win, lose or draw. We have got work to do between now and the end of the season to get the wins needed to finish third.

“But we are looking forward to the game. It has been a long time coming round. Looking forward to it for lots of reasons. We will just try and deal with the game and pick up three very important points.

“We have got a healthy regard for the level of player that Motherwell have got. We know that we will have to play well.”