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Finally pain free after long-term back injury, Matty Kennedy is focused on making an impact at Aberdeen

Aberdeen's Matty Kennedy scores against Dumbarton.
Aberdeen's Matty Kennedy scores against Dumbarton.

Aberdeen winger Matty Kennedy is finally pain free after a nightmare season derailed by a long-running back problem.

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with two stress fractures in his back last summer.

Winger Kennedy admits the 2021-22 campaign was a disaster as he made just three starts.

In a bid to get back on track, Kennedy gave up his summer break as he worked hard with new Head of Medical and Football Science Kevin Bain.

There was no holiday for the winger during the close season – just sweat, graft and focus on being fully fit to attack the new campaign.

That hard work and dedication has paid off as Kennedy has started, and impressed, in both Premier Sports Cup games so far at the start of the 2022/23 term.

He even netted the second goal in the 2-0 defeat of Dumbarton at Pittodrie.

After a year from hell, Kennedy is confident he has finally emerged from the nightmare of his back injury.

Kennedy said: “It was a disaster last season, but I feel sharp now, so hopefully I can push on.

“The gaffer brought in a new physio in, Kevin Bain, and he’s been brilliant with the boys, especially myself.

“I was in most of the summer with him to get myself right.

“My back is going in the right direction.

“I’ve never looked forward so much to coming back and kicking a ball again – to be involved with the boys and involved on match days.

“And to enjoy football pain free for the first time in a long time.”

Aberdeen’s Matty Kennedy is fouled inside the box to earn a penalty for the opener in the 2-0 Premier Sports Cup win over Peterhead last weekend.

Ready for the season under admirer Goodwin

Following confirmation of the stress fractures last summer, Kennedy was told he had to do nothing for 12 weeks.

It was the beginning of a long battle back to being fully fit.

While manager of St Mirren, Dons boss Jim Goodwin tried to take Kennedy in on loan last August, but the move never happened and he struggled on at Aberdeen.

Kennedy is confident his game can thrive under Goodwin’s guidance this season now the Irishman is in charge at Pittodrie and he is physically ready.

He said: “The gaffer has been in six months and has been really positive on the training pitch.

“He has been brilliant with me and said what he wants from me.

Winger Matty Kennedy celebrates scoring in the 2-0 defeat of Dumbarton.

“The gaffer has shown me the positions that would suit my game better to get on the ball.

“Likewise with other players as well.

“It all comes from the manager, because we are all good players. He is putting us all in positions and it is working.

“I feel like he can add a lot to my game.”

Aberdeen winger Matty Kennedy takes on Peterhead's Andy McDonald
Aberdeen winger Matty Kennedy takes on Peterhead’s Andy McDonald.

Kennedy determined to score more goals

Kennedy insists a lot of the focus during pre-season was on getting the attacking players to link up better.

Last season the Reds slumped to a dismal 10th-placed finish in the Premiership table.

A lack of creativity in attack was a major factor in that slump.

Coupled with an inability to keep clean sheets, it was a disastrous combination.

Gaffer Goodwin has moved to remedy those problems with a summer transfer window rebuild.

The signing of Benfica B striker Luis Lopes means their spend will have broken the £1million mark.

Kennedy insists the work with the attackers during training has been fundamental to hopes for a successful new season.

He said: “We have worked a lot on the forward players linking up.


“It didn’t seem to work last season.

“However, the gaffer has come in and focused on the forward four or five players to try to get us to link up better.

“The work we are doing on the training pitch is paying off.

“The gaffer has spoken to me and a couple of the other wide players and said he wants more goals from us.

“That’s what I’m going to try to do.”

Attacker excited by ongoing squad rebuild

Dons boss Goodwin paid transfer fees for Bojan Miovski (£535,000 MTK Budapest), Ylber Ramadani (£100,000, MTK Budapest) and Jayden Richardson (£300,000, Nottingham Forest) this summer. A six-figure sum has also been agreed with Benfica for 22-year-old Lopes.

Goodwin has also secured new captain Anthony Stewart (Wycombe Wanders) and keeper Kelle Roos (Derby County) on frees.

Celtic defender Liam Scales was secured on a season-long loan, although Goodwin will bid to make that permanent in the January transfer window.

Kennedy said: “There has been a big turnover with players.

“The gaffer has brought in loads of positive boys and you can sense that from them already.

“They are all good players as well, we have already seen that.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin and Matty Kennedy during the 1-1 draw with Dundee United.

“When it clicks I think it will be good,

“We will get used to playing with each other more and more.

“The cup games are ideal for us as it gives us the chance to click.”

Kennedy is confident there are better times ahead this season for supporters.

He said: “It was disappointing last year, but that is done with now.

“We just have to look forward and push on.

“Fans can be excited about the new season with the players we have brought in.

“The staff and players are working hard so that we can put on winning performances every week.

Aberdeen’s Matty Kennedy with his team-mates.

“We know the fans will stick by us.

“They stuck by us last season even though it was a disappointing season.

“All together we can push the club forward.”