Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is confident the Dons support will see the real Craig Bryson this season.
The 33-year-old was the Dons’ main signing last summer but an ankle injury limited the former Derby County midfielder to only five league starts and 12 appearances overall.
McInnes has been pleased with the way Bryson is training ahead of the new campaign kicking off with the visit of Rangers on August 1 and is hopeful his injuries problems are behind him.
He said: “He’s not got going at all and that’s not for the want of trying. Anybody that’s worked with him or knows him, knows that he is very professional with his work and very hard on himself.
“Looking back, I feel a bit guilty of putting pressure on him to play more or the physios to get him out on the pitch and I think we’ve all been guilty of pushing him before he was maybe ready.
“But he’s been so unlucky, he came to us with an ankle injury but it was the other ankle and that’s healed fine, he passed a strict medical before he came.
“But it’s the other ankle which he’d never had any problems with. I think there is a feeling out there that we signed a player with an ankle problem and it has continued to be a problem.
“It was the other ankle and he’s never had any problems with it and sometimes that’s the way it happens.
“He’s now put together three weeks of solid pre-season work and has now completed three lots of 60 minutes in 11 v 11s.
“He’s going the right way considering he’s been out a lengthy period of time. He is different to our midfielders.
“We’ve got young Dean Campbell who can handle the ball and do a bit of everything, there’s Lewis Ferguson who can do a bit of everything, there’s Funso Ojo who’s a proper number 6 and can control the nature of the game and is comfortable in possession and Dylan McGeouch is similar.
“Bryson gives us a dynamic, like Graeme Shinnie he can get up and down the pitch, can turn the ball over, get you a goal and run past your centre-forward and he’s got that added benefit of experience.
“I’m fed up sometimes shouting onto the pitch. I want my players to be talking more and organising more and one thing you get when Bryson is on the pitch whether in training or in a game is that you hear him and for me a centre midfielder has to have that in his game.”
McInnes has also been delighted with the way Jonny Hayes has fitted back into the squad following his return to the club from Celtic.
The former Caley Thistle winger, who is likely to be Aberdeen’s only summer signing unless a player departs, agreed to defer his wages for a year in order to push through his return to Pittodrie.
McInnes added: “Every manager wants to make three or four signings to freshen it up, but I couldn’t be more pleased with getting Jonny in.
“He’s knows the club and knows what’s expected of him, I think we’re getting a more rounded player for his experiences at Celtic and the pressure he’s dealt with.
“He was disappointed not to get a contract, but that pressure has never been shown with us, he’s come in absolutely buoyant, fresh as ever and looks great.
“His speed is still there, he’s exciting when he picks the ball up, if he loses it he’s straight after it.
“I do think that can invigorate fans as well, somebody who has that built-in passion to win the ball back and Jonny and Graeme Shinnie were always like that.
“Even when they were having bad games, it covers a multitude of sins at times.
“Jonny has been a big player for me in the past and, looking at him, I believe he’ll be that again and it’s great to have him in.”