sport

Aberdeen v Inverness preview

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has been lifted by the news that Peter Pawlett has been passed fit for Sunday's Scottish League Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The midfielder has recovered from a hip injury that kept him out against Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup last weekend, but left-back Clark Robertson will play no part.

Aberdeen will have the bulk of the 50,000 support in the East End of Glasgow this weekend but McInnes is confident his players will be able to cope with the pressure.

"Let's not kid ourselves, nobody is going to give us the trophy," he said. "We are going to have to earn the right to win it.

"Just as we have earned the right to be in a semi-final of the Scottish Cup and earned the right to be second in the league, we have earned the right to get to the League Cup final. These boys have been good enough and strong enough to deal with that."

Inverness defender Gary Warren is suspended after being sent off in the dramatic semi-final victory over Hearts last month.

Midfielders Marley Watkins, Greg Tansey and Ross Draper all return from suspension to join a fully-fit squad that will travel south from the Highland capital.

Manager John Hughes saw his charges gain a morale-boosting 0-0 draw with Hibernian in midweek after consecutive 5-0 defeats to Celtic and Dundee United.

"For us it was about stopping the bleeding, keeping a clean sheet, which gives us a bit of confidence, and coming through unscathed," Hughes said.

"It's important now we regroup, rest them up and go and enjoy the cup final. We have to put a real shift in and still have a look at a couple of shapes.

"It's all about doing what's right for the club to win the game and if you need to adjust it, then you have to do that.

"However, there are still three or four places up for grabs in the starting line-up, that's for sure."

Hughes accepts Aberdeen are favourites, insisting there will be no pressure on his side who are looking to claim the trophy for the first time.

"Aberdeen are massive favourites," he added. "The pressure is on Aberdeen. They have to win the cup. They haven't won a cup 16-18 years, so they have to go and play with that pressure.

"We just turn up, as we do, as underdogs, roll the sleeves up, make sure we are organised and make sure we give it our best shot.

"If we win, it's historic. If we lose, then we give it our best shot and it's a privilege being there."