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Aberdeen FC must bench Duk and bin 3 at the back as Pittodrie hero pinpoints what is 'hurting their chances'

They've been slaughtered for playing route one “hoofball”. But former Aberdeen striker Steve Cowan reckons it’s time his old side stopped taking a punt with their formation too.

A rotten start to the season that’s seen the Dons slide to second bottom with no wins from five games and three defeats on the spin in all competitions has piled the pressure on boss Barry Robson after a summer that saw 13 signings brought in. The loss of key men Ylber Ramadani, Ross McCrorie and Liam Scales hasn’t helped. But back-to-back defeats to Hibs and Hearts have shone a light on the under-performing Pittodrie outfit with critics pointing the finger at a style of play that’s become as pointless as that run of defeats.

According to Cowan though it’s not a lack of adventure that’s killing his old side on the park - it’s actually the complete opposite. The 60-year-old reckons their set-up is too risky, way too open and killing them before they get a chance to impose themselves on a game.

Cowan insists it’s time Robson binned his three at the back game plan, adopted proper full-backs and allowed dangermen such as Leighton Clarkson and Bojan Miovski to work their magic safe in the knowledge they have protection behind them. At the other end he insists it’s time last season’s talisman Duk was dropped to the bench after a goalless run of 13 games stretching back to April.

Cowan said: “I predicted the 2-0 defeat to Hearts on radio last week and that’s because, in my humble opinion, I don’t think the three at the back is working. Aberdeen are getting caught out at the back too often and the stats prove it because they’ve only had one clean sheet all season.

“I think they need to go back to being a solid four with full-backs and bringing in