Aberdeen seal deal for Bournemouth striker Jayden Stockley

Jayden Stockley's impressive loan spell at Exeter City caught the attention of Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes. Picture: Getty Images
Jayden Stockley's impressive loan spell at Exeter City caught the attention of Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes. Picture: Getty Images
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Aberdeen have signed Bournemouth striker Jayden Stockley on a pre-contract agreement.

The 22-year-old joins the Dons on the back of a successful loan spell with Exeter, where he scored ten goals in 22 matches.

Stockley made his Bournemouth debut at the age of 15 and made 22 first-team appearances, and also scored goals on loan spells with Woking, Torquay, Portsmouth, Cambridge, Luton, Leyton Orient, Accrington and 
Cambridge.

Stockley told RedTV: “To get the opportunity to be involved in European football was a big part of coming here and also the plans the manager outlined for the future which are really exciting.

“The lure of winning trophies and the chance to achieve something in an already brilliant team, that is improving every year. It’s a massive opportunity. Everyone I spoke to told me to sign up.”

Manager Derek McInnes was looking to provide help for top goalscorer Adam Rooney and he could still keep striker Simon Church beyond the summer.

The Wales international has scored six goals in 13 matches since arriving from MK Dons on loan in January. The 27-year-old has a year left on his contract with the Milton Keynes club but has proved a key player, especially since Aberdeen lost Rooney for ten weeks with a thigh injury.

Assistant manager Tony Docherty said of Church: “We are in discussions. Simon has done fantastically well since he came in.

“It was a big, big loss losing Adam Rooney. You saw that even in our previous game, he was on for 40 minutes and I think he got five or six chances. So it’s difficult to replace Adam Rooney but Simon has come and got six goals. He has done very well for us.

“So of course there is an interest there. He is a great lad Simon, he has really fitted into the dressing room, he’s a fantastic trainer, good professional. So those types of players you obviously keep in touch with.

“But the manager is doing his business on that and we will announce in due course if we have anything to tell you.”

Both Church and Rooney are out of Thursday’s Premiership game with Hearts.

Church aggravated an ankle knock at Celtic Park on Sunday while Rooney’s goalscoring comeback against Motherwell proved short-lived as his thigh injury flared up again.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson wants his players to set a marker for next season when they face the Dons.

Hearts were three goals down after their first 45 minutes of action against the Pittodrie side this season, but have steadily improved in their meetings with the team just above them in the table. After Jordan McGhee’s late handball gifted Aberdeen a Pittodrie win, Hearts have inflicted two damaging defeats, knocking the Dons out of the Scottish Cup and delivering a major blow to their title hopes.

Neilson said: “It’s a big game up at Pittodrie. We went there recently and performed well. It was 0-0 until a couple of minutes to go and we gave away a soft goal. So far this season we have played each other four times and it’s been two wins to us and two wins to Aberdeen. So it’s a chance to go up there and get the bragging rights and hopefully carry that momentum forward into next season.”

It is little surprise that Neilson is already thinking of next season, both because Hearts are assured of third place and because their Europa League campaign kicks off next month. So Neilson is making plans to ensure his players are ready to hit the ground running.

“It’s extremely important, especially this pre-season,” he said.

“The players come back 15 June and the first game is 30 June. So there is only a six-week break between the last game and the first game.

“So this place will be open three days a week. The players will come in and train, they will get their holiday when they take it, for a fortnight, but other than that they will be training right through.”