New Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin has defending under-fire duo Declan Gallagher and David Bates.
The two centre-backs have been singled out for poor performances and errors leading to goals so far.
Bates was at fault for the penalty which Marc McNulty converted to open the scoring in the Dons’ draw with Dundee United on Saturday.
And both centre-backs have come under scrutiny, although Gallagher has had injury issues.
But Goodwin insists he wants his central defenders to be strong and to do the basics.
He reckons the pair showed for most of the United game they’re more than capable of delivering.
And he knows they’ll need to produce something similar to give the Dons the chance to take points from Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday.
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Goodwin said: “There is plenty for me to work with, that is the most pleasing thing for me.
“There was a team who were willing to run themselves into the ground, get close to people and be aggressive.
“All in all, it was another point on the board but let’s not get carried away.
“We’re not satisfied with that. We don’t think taking a point at home to Dundee United, with the greatest of respect, is a fantastic result.
“It’s still another point on the board and considering we’ve only had a week with the players they’ve done great.”
Goodwin is still assessing his walking wounded as to who he will have available for the trip to third-placed Hearts.
A combination of Covid and injuries left him without captain Scott Brown, Jonny Hayes, Calvin Ramsay, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Ross McCrorie.
Added to that Connor McLennan and Adam Montgomery both had to come off with injuries against United.
Goodwin, speaking to RedTV, said: “Connor has been out for a wee while and been in and out of training. He has fitness issues and cramped up.
“Hopefully, that is not going to be a serious one. Monty again we don’t know if it’s cramp or a slight strain.
“We hope it will be cramped and it will take a couple of days to recover.
“Both were very good, considering Connor is not a natural right-back.
“Because of the situation we found ourselves in we had to shuffle the pack a little bit.”
Goodwin has warned his players he will be upping the tempo during the week because he wants them to train the way they play.
He added: “It’s going to take a lot out of their bodies but we need to do it.
“We need to get them used to doing it Monday to Friday so they can compete at a high-energy and a high level on a Saturday.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.