While Derek McInnes and his players wait to discover whether the season will be played to a finish, AFC women’s co-manager Emma Hunter and her players do not know if their campaign will even get going.
The coronavirus-enforced lockdown has left women’s football in first gear, with the Dons having played one league match, a 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock, before football was put into cold storage.
When it will return is anyone’s guess, but Hunter is pleased to see the players putting in the extra effort to keep morale high in the camp.
She said: “Their mental wellbeing is so important. For a lot of them, playing football is their escape, their hobby and an activity which helps alleviate the stress.
“We’ve got a group chat going and Jo Fraser has taken on the role of quizmaster.
“We’ve just had lockdown quiz number eight, our daily quiz and she’s keeping the tone light between general knowledge and fun questions about other players in the team.
“But we’re all competitive. I’m probably the worst to be honest but it’s keeping the spirits high among the group.
“We’ve got a wide range in the team. We’ve got a schoolteacher in the squad who is helping the younger players, engineers who are working from home and some who have lost their jobs, so we’re looking around trying to see if we can find any other work for them.
“It’s important we all support each other.”
While the focus is on the mental wellbeing of the players, Hunter knows maintaining fitness is equally important.
She is confident her side will be following the routines they have been provided with to keep them ticking over.
She said: “In terms of physical fitness the sports scientist at the club has given the players a programme to follow.
“The restrictions from the government came in so quickly. We had planned on meeting once a week or working in small groups on ball work initially.
“But the restriction to one bout of exercise a day means the sports science programme is what the players follow when they are out.
“They are then doing their own strength and conditioning at home.
“I guess the one positive, if you can call it that, is that every club is in the same boat so it’s not as if any team is gaining an advantage during the lockdown. We’re all facing the same challenge.”
Hunter’s new colleague in the dugout, Stuart Bathgate, is still waiting for his debut.
The former Westdyke coach has been appointed as new co-manager and only briefly met the players before the shutdown.
Hunter said: “It has been a tough start for Stuart.
“I gave him his homework by giving him the information we have and with the time he has on his hands I’m sure he has been reading up on the plans we had put in place.”