Aberdeen: Jim Goodwin sends message to fringe players - 'I have had discussions with two or three of the squad'

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin won’t stand in the way of first-team fringe players who want more game-time this season – but would welcome they stay to fight for a place.

The likes of Joe Lewis, Christian Ramirez and David Bates have found themselves on the bench since this summer’s squad overhaul under the new Pittodrie regime saw 11 new faces enter the dressing room.

Ideally, Goodwin would like one more to join and complete his squad set-up but that of course creates the consequence of increased competition for those already there. He has been up front about future prospects of some in his squad and balancing players’ happiness with his own selection options is the equation Goodwin is currently working on.

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“I have had discussions with two or three of the squad. They know the situation, that their game-time this season might be a little limited and that the club aren’t going to stand in their way if they can find an opportunity to play more regularly,” he admitted. “The ball is in the players’ court in terms of those two or three.

“If they stay then that’s fine. It gives me an extra two or three players to choose from if we get injuries or suspensions. Any manager will tell you they want as big and as strong as squad as they can get.

“But, of course, we have a budget to work to. I don’t want anybody who’s not going to be happy to be here. I’ve been there myself. It can become very frustrating.

“Before that frustration settles in and the window shuts, I thought it was appropriate to let those players know, and give them time.

“That way they can’t come and bang my door down and say I never told them. That’s the way I work and I think that’s the best way to do it.”

Aberdeen Manager Jim Goodwin during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Aberdeen.

Goodwin won’t be rushed on incomings either and remains in talks with “one or two” potential players. There is no business, in either direction, anticipated ahead of Saturday’s game with Motherwell which will be the full managerial debut of Steven Hammell, appointed permanent replacement for Graeme Alexander at Fir Park this week.

The Dons are facing a different prospect to the team which took 10 points from them last season and eliminated them from the Scottish Cup – but the same scenario now faces the Steelmen too.

"Defensively as a unit last year, we weren’t good enough. We have a completely different back four now, a new goalkeeper and a number of new midfielders as well,” Goodwin went on. “The team is unrecognisable, so I’m not concerned about stats from last season.

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“We’ve conceded three goals in competitive football this season. Kelle Roos hasn’t had a great deal to do. We’ve not been getting cut open by any of the teams.

"We’re in a good place, defensively and offensively. Long may that continue.

“Motherwell are a very physical team. Going off the couple of games I’ve seen – I think Steven Hammell is trying to change the way they play.

“They look to be playing a little more possession-based and build from the back, as opposed to quite direct, long throws and set-pieces coming in the box.

“Credit Steven for that. I think it’s the right way to go.”

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