Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes Craig Bryson will prove the ideal replacement for Graeme Shinnie.
The former Derby County midfielder, who joined the Dons on a free transfer in the summer, will make his first outing at Pittodrie when Ross County visit on Saturday.
An ankle injury disrupted Bryson’s pre-season, but the 32-year-old impressed in his third appearance for the Reds in the 0-0 draw against Kilmarnock last weekend before being replaced with 17 minutes to go.
McInnes believes the Red Army will see the best of Bryson after next weekend’s international break, but has been encouraged by his start to life at Pittodrie.
He said: “We need to remind ourselves that everyone was talking last season about how we would replace Graeme Shinnie and that dynamic in the team.
“I think Craig Bryson is going to provide that for us.
“We have tried different set-ups in midfield, but he gives us the ball-winning qualities and drive that Graeme Shinnie gave us.
“I feel his season will really start after the international break but, while he is fit and available, it is important we try to utilise him the best way possible.”
There are no Aberdeen players in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the imminent Euro 2020 qualifiers at Hampden against Russia, next Friday, and Belgium on Monday week.
Scott McKenna was expected to be in the squad but missed out as a result of a hamstring injury sustained at Rugby Park last Saturday.
It has been a difficult period for the central defender, who handed in a transfer request prior to Aberdeen’s Europa League encounter against Rijeka in Croatia ahead of the English transfer window closing on August 8.
Sheffield Wednesday, Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest were among the clubs keen to take the 22-year-old south of the border, but McInnes has been impressed with the way McKenna has been since a possible move to England failed to materialise.
He added: “If his performance levels are as good as they can be, then that will propel him to the next stage.”
Michael Devlin stepped up his push for a first-team return after featuring for 45 minutes in the Dons’ 4-1 win against Ross County in the Reserve League Cup at Peterhead yesterday.
Curtis Main set up two goals in his hour-long appearance.
Bruce Anderson scored a hat-trick with Scott Wright also on the scoresheet while James Wallace scored from the penalty spot for the visitors.