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Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass confident keeper Joe Lewis is back to his best

Aberdeen's Joe Lewis  has been a regular starter for six years.
Aberdeen's Joe Lewis has been a regular starter for six years.

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass has praised keeper Joe Lewis for responding positively to being dropped.

Following a slump in form Glass relegated the keeper to the bench in October.

It was the first time Lewis had been dropped since signing for the Dons in 2016.

Glass made the call to drop Lewis following the 34-year-old’s error for the winning goal in a 3-2 loss to St Mirren.

Being dropped ended a run of 234 consecutive starts by Lewis in games he had been fit and available for.

Aberdeen’s Joe Lewis and David Bates after the 2-0 defeat of Livingston.

After making the decision, the Dons gaffer had urged Lewis to focus on rediscovering his form during training.

Lewis responded and missed just two games before impressing Glass enough to be reinstated in the starting line-up.

Glass is confident that after that spell on the bench Lewis has rediscovered his top form.

He said: “Joe has been back to his best in the last couple of weeks.

“He had some big saves in the first half against St Mirren (4-1 win) including a double save.

“It was a good performance from the big man.”

All players fighting for starting slot

Making the call to drop club captain Lewis underlined no player is safe if they are not performing to the levels expected by Glass.

Gary Woods replaced Lewis for the games against Celtic (2-1 loss) and Dundee (2-1 loss) in October.

A spell on the bench appears to have revitalised keeper Lewis who played a key role in Aberdeen securing back to back wins at Pittodrie last week.

Lewis secured a clean sheet in the 2-0 defeat of Livingston and also made key blocks in the 4-1 win against St Mirren, including a superb double save.

Glass insists every player is under scrutiny and expected to deliver… or risk their starting slot.

Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis in action.

He said: “There is a lot of competition here, I’m not referring to Joe here, so it’s important the boys are on their game.

“That has to continue for them all.”

Starting slots earned during training

Aberdeen ended a three game losing streak when defeating Livingston at Pittodrie last Wednesday.

Glass retained faith with the same starting XI for the clash with St Mirren just four days later and was rewarded with the biggest Premiership victory of the season.

The Dons gaffer accepts there are players on the sidelines desperate to force their way into the starting XI – and has urged them to earn a call up in training.

Joe Lewis during an Aberdeen training session at Cormack Park,

He said: “The players all know what it takes in training to make us think that they should be playing.

“I don’t think we have picked a team where we are looking at the starting XI that are on the pitch and are thinking that one of those on the bench has really forced us and should be playing.

“The team in the main has more or less looked after itself.

“There are players itching to get a chance but they know training well is what it gets it.”

Congested fixture list in December

Aberdeen face a congested fixture list with five games before the Premiership goes into a three week winter shutdown on January 3.

Next up for the Dons is an away trip to St Johnstone on Saturday as they bid to secure three successive wins.

During such a busy period Glass insists he has to get the balance between game time and training right.

Ross McCrorie (centre) during an Aberdeen training session at. Cormack Park.

He said: “It is a busy period of games so you can do bits and pieces of training with the players.

“You can do less active coaching.

“You can’t run the players at match pace but you can still get the information into them and that is the challenge.

“The players have shown that anytime there has been this amount of games quickly they have done well and have coped with it.

“That is good news for us as coaches that the players can take that in which is a positive.”

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