Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has hailed the professionalism of Stephen Gleeson after the midfielder’s long wait for his Dons chance.
Gleeson made his first start after seven months against Kilmarnock and kept his place in last Sunday’s 2-0 defet against Rangers last weekend, finally breaking into the midfield duopoly formed by Graeme Shinnie and Lewis Ferguson.
A suspension to Ferguson and then injury to Shinnie allowed Gleeson his chance, making just his sixth start of the season in the win at Rugby Park. Shinnie’s injury has presented him with a further opportunity and the ex-Birmingham City midfielder has earned the praise of his manager for showing a great deal of patience.
McInnes said: “Gleeson has done well. I was really pleased the way he has come in and been ready to go. It says a lot about him. It has been a challenge for him to get regular game time because I have been really pleased with the form of Graeme Shinnie and Lewis Ferguson.
“We have been without Ferguson and now Shinnie in recent weeks. When they have been fit they have been the two I have gone with but Gleeson has been excellent. He is professional and the way he trains has been first class and I am delighted with him when he has come into the team.”
Work is ongoing to tie down members of the current squad for next season. Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven look set to leave the club while on-loan midfielder Dominic Ball, who has found a home for himself at right-back with Shay Logan’s injury, is another player McInnes is keen to keep. Long-serving defender Andy Considine agreed a new two-year deal last week.
He said: “We are working away to try and find solutions for boys and for those coming in from out with.
“It will be a big turnaround. We have work to do but it has been on-going. We have had conversations for those you are trying to bring in and you anticipate the ones you are losing and the areas of the team we need to strengthen. These are things we have been looking at for a while.”
Tommie Hoban, who is out for the foreseeable future with another cruciate ligament injury suffered while on loan with Aberdeen, has been extended an olive branch by the Dons as he looks to forge a playing comeback.
McInnes added: “I have said to Tommie that if we could help in any way then we would. He is obviously a Watford player and they are in charge of his rehab. We have just said that if there is anything we can do, with the permission of Watford, then you know where we are.”