Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admits he would be keen to extend Tommie Hoban’s deal beyond this season but believes the current arrangement is best for both parties.
The 26-year-old, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury during a loan spell with the Dons in 2019, joined the club at the start of the season on a short-term deal until January.
That was extended last week until the end of the season with Hoban playing a pivotal part in Aberdeen’s impressive start to the new campaign.
When asked about the potential of tying Hoban down on a longer deal, McInnes said: “We would all like the confidence of that.
“Having spoken to Tommie, I think he is grateful for the club for standing by him and giving him the opportunity to finish his rehab here to get back to training and playing games.
“In his short time here he has done particularly well for us.
“He has become a very important player for us very quickly and we knew he would be. When we signed him a couple of years ago (on loan from Watford) the intention was for him to be a key player.
“Injuries took over and he has dealt with that brilliantly.
“We are confident that he is finding a bit of rhythm and he has pattern to his training through the week.
“That is playing out on a match-day.
“Ideally we could be sitting in a few months’ time talking about an extended contract for Tommie.
“Both parties are enjoying being around each other and feel it is the right step to see how we go over the next few months and leave these options open.”
McInnes has been hugely impressed with Hoban’s leadership qualities, adding: “He is a good user of the ball and he can play any of the three back positions or as a holding midfielder if we need it.
“He brings a calmness to our defending as well as in possession.
“I have always felt he is the type of player who can make the guy next to him better and that is a bit of a dying art.
“A lot of players can play their own game and do well themselves but Tommie is a good talker in the back line who can influence and bring the best out of the defender next to him.”
McInnes, meanwhile, has received good news on the injury front with last season’s top scorer Sam Cosgrove, new signing Greg Leigh, winger Matty Kennedy and defender Mickey Devlin all making progress on their return to full fitness.
The Dons are heading into an important stretch of games with Saturday’s trip to Tannadice and Tuesday’s visit of Hamilton followed by a double-header against Celtic, including the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on November 1.
McInnes said: “Sam is in a similar bracket to Greg Leigh who we signed during the window. They are more or less step for step in their build up and preparation to be in the team.
“Sam has come from a long way back having only put two weeks of pre-season together before suffering his (knee) injury.
“Greg is coming from a bit further back in terms of actually being out there and doing football training.
“We are hopeful the two of them can push each other along and hopefully be in full training within the next week or so.
“Sam and Greg are doing little bits of football work and we think they can increase their work next week.
“That is the same for Matty Kennedy (ankle), who should be able to start at the beginning of next week to be ready for these Celtic games.
“Mikey Devlin (hamstring) trained yesterday and the intention for him is to get another good week’s work and then follow that up with a full week’s work.
“We are getting three or four really important players back at a good time.
“With the fixtures coming up, those players are going to be required.”