Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass’ Reds Revolution stepped up another notch today as his new-look squad returned for pre-season training.
And the Dons gaffer is confident his squad will be fired up and ready for the first fixture of the new campaign when facing BK Hacken in the Uefa Conference League on July 22.
Right-back Jack Gurr, 25, was a new face at Cormack Park today, having completed a move on a one-year deal from Atlanta United.
Defender Gurr joined fellow new signings Scott Brown (Celtic), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Livingston) and Teddy Jenks (Brighton, on loan) who all reported for duty at the club’s £13 million training facility.
Former Celtic captain Brown, who was has signed on a two-year deal in a player-coach capacity, has been given the number eight in the squad.
Scotland international defender Declan Gallagher will officially sign with the Dons on a two-year deal when his involvement at Euro 2020 ends.
Dons boss Glass intends to add more additions to his squad with a move for Houston Dynamo’s United States international striker Christian Ramirez top of his wish-list.
The Reds have thrashed out a fee with Major League Soccer for the 30-year-old and Ramirez has also agreed personal terms on a move to Pittodrie.
Now Aberdeen have to negotiate the final hurdle of securing a work permit for the striker, capped twice by his country.
Hard work started before pre-season
Glass revealed the squad were already two weeks into a training programme before they even arrived at Cormack Park today.
The players will be tested on their fitness, but Glass has no doubt they will all pass with flying colours.
He said: “They got a little period after the end of the season to take their time and regenerate a little bit.
“They then had a programme of roughly two weeks which led into what is going to come to them.
“We will do a little bit of testing to make sure they are all on top of it.
“I am pretty sure they will all be on top of it and then from then we can really map out the pre-season.”
👍🏼 We are back at Cormack Park for day one of pre season training. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/v0UtUxLhKX
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) June 21, 2021
New Dons assistant Henry Apaloo works with squad for first time
Newly-appointed assistant coach Henry Apaloo was also at Cormack Park to help put the new-look squad through their paces.
Apaloo was formerly assistant coach at Atlanta United 2, alongside Glass.
Northern Ireland international attacker Niall McGinn reported back for duty, having signed a one-year contract extension.
McGinn’s contract expired at the end of last season, but Glass opted to retain him for another campaign.
Pre-season will be at Cormack Park
Aberdeen have traditionally travelled overseas for a pre-season training camps and friendlies.
Under previous manager Derek McInnes the squad had travelled to pre-season camps in the Republic of Ireland, using facilities at Cork and Dublin.
Former manager Craig Brown had taken the Dons to Holland and Germany for pre-season tours and training camps.
However due to the coronavirus pandemic that will not happen this year as Glass has opted to do all his work at the club’s state-of-the-art Cormack Park training facility.
That way Glass can completely control pre-season within the club’s bio-secure Covid-19 bubble.
Glass said: “We’re going to do everything at Cormack Park.
“We’ll play a couple of games among ourselves to get them used to playing 11 v 11 and we’ll have some teams coming in.
“I’m trying to control it so that the players get a good even amount of minutes.
“Traditionally you would usually play Tuesday and Thursday and split your group.
“I’m going to try to have some people play two games in one day to keep the players on the same calendar.
“We can actually plug in extra games among ourselves as we have enough guys to do that.
“We can really control what the pre-season looks like, the intensity and how many games we play.
“A lot of big clubs do that these days where you don’t go and play 15 pre-season games.
“You can fit enough into your training – if the training is at the right intensity.
“Come the start of the season, you will see a group that is well prepared.”