Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes hopes fans will finally get the chance to see the real Craig Bryson.
The 33 year-old made his first appearance since November 24 when he came off the bench in the Dons’ 2-1 defeat by Celtic at Pittodrie on Sunday.
Bryson, a summer signing from Derby County, has been restricted to just eight appearances in the league due to three separate ankle injuries, the last of which required surgery.
McInnes is delighted to have the veteran back in the fold.
The Dons boss said: “It has been so frustrating for him, me and everyone at the club because we made such a big effort to get him here.
“But now we are coming to the business end of the season and it might just be the perfect time for him to come back.
“He was my marquee signing and even when he’s been running in the last couple of weeks he looks like he’s good to go.
“Obviously there are a few players who are not quite up to speed because of a lack of matches but he looks like the player we thought we had signed.”
McInnes had anticipated Bryson to offer the same tenacious drive in midfield as his predecessor, former Dons captain Graeme Shinnie, who left the club in the summer to join Derby County.
The Aberdeen manager believes Bryson’s influence on the team has been sorely missed.
He said: “We have totally missed Shinnie but I don’t think we would have missed him as much if Bryson had been available.
“That’s because I see a lot of similarities between them as Bryson inspires his team mates and inspire supporters.
“He chases lost causes and he runs beyond strikers and has an unbelievable engine as Shinnie does.
“Sometimes that desire that goes along with the quality that both players have got is a huge attraction for me.
“When I knew we were losing Shinnie I thought Bryson was the one who would replace him.”
With Funso Ojo due to sit out tomorrow’s Scottish Cup fifth round replay at Kilmarnock due to having stitches in the knee injury he suffered against Celtic on Sunday, Bryson’s return to active duty could not have come at a better time for his club.
McInnes said: “We have probably relied on Lewis Ferguson a bit too much like Cosgrove over the period but having more of our recognised midfielders available can be vital for us.
“I was playing wingers in there and defenders like Zak Vyner and Greg Leigh in midfield at times as we were shoe horning people in to the team.
“We needed that to try to get a job done and a lot of them did that very well but I do think you need players to be in their right positions.
“I do think Dean Campbell’s got better this season and he has improved in the last few months.
“Dylan McGeouch, when he gets up to full speed, will be really influential for us.”