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Aberdeen manager Barry Robson relishing the task of competing on all fronts

The Dons boss is looking forward to a testing month for his club in the Premiership, League Cup and Europa Conference League.

Dons boss Barry Robson. Image: SNS
Dons boss Barry Robson. Image: SNS

Aberdeen boss Barry Robson knows competing on all fronts will be a huge challenge – but the Dons manager does not want it any other way.

Robson’s Reds have had a tough start to the season and have yet to pick up their first win in the Premiership after four attempts.

With the league campaign set to resume on Saturday against Hearts at Tynecastle, followed by their Conference League group stage opener at Eintracht Frankfurt, the challenges keep on coming for Aberdeen.

Add in a Viaplay Cup quarter-final at Ross County in less than two weeks’ time, and September is shaping up to be a huge month for the club.

Robson acknowledges the size of the task ahead for his squad, but insists his players are relishing the challenges coming their way.

The manager said: “We have to use our squad and rotate it well. Is it going to be difficult? Yeah – but this is where we want to be.

“We want to be playing top players at Eintracht Frankfurt. It’s going to be difficult, but we want to give it a go.

“We need to perform in the cup, the league and in Europe. Staying in the fight in these competitions is the challenge.

Hibernian’s Josh Campbell (R) and Aberdeen’s Jamie McGrath during the Dons last game before the international break. Image: SNS.

“As difficult as it will be, this is the schedule we want.”

‘We’ll get stronger as the season goes’

Robson and his players received the plaudits for their rousing second half of the campaign last season as they reeled in this weekend’s opponents before beating them to third place.

That achievement has brought guaranteed European football up until Christmas, but with it comes the difficult task of juggling European and domestic commitments.

Robson believes his club is not the only to suffer a European hangover with Hearts, Hibs and Rangers all struggling.

But he would still rather have to adapt to Europe than not being part of the Thursday night action between now and mid-December.

Robson said: “It’s no secret, for every Scottish team, it’s been really difficult to start in Europe.

“The other teams have had four games in the League Cup and were up to speed before we got into a game, but we want to be in this position.

“We’re not complaining about it, we’ll enjoy it. Will it take us longer to get going? Yes, obviously, but we’ll get stronger as the season goes.”

Aberdeen boss backs his players to adjust to their new schedule

Duk will be hoping for more European action after facing Hacken in the Europa League. Image: SNS.

The Dons laboured in both of the league games which followed their two Europa League play-off legs against BK Hacken of Sweden, picking up a point at St Mirren before being beaten 2-0 at home by Hibernian before the international break.

Robson has experience of balancing domestic and European commitments from his own playing days with Celtic and knows his side will take time to adjust.

But he is confident his players will find their rhythm as they bid to improve on their 11th place position.

He said: “I never got carried away last season and I don’t now.

“We’re talking about next May, which is a long way away. We’ve got a lot on our plate right now, which we need to try to deal with.

“It is really difficult. I did it myself as a player, so I understand it takes time to get used to.

“You’ve got to make sure you perform at your best and give your all.

“But right now we’ve got Hearts to deal with and we have to show them respect as they are a great club with some top players.”

Robson wants to repay fans’ backing

The Dons supporters made their frustration known by booing the team off following their poor performance against Hibs in their last outing.

But with the Red Army having sold out their allocation for Tynecastle on Saturday, the Aberdeen manager knows his players will be able to count on their backing once more.

His focus is on ensuring his side can repay that support by sending the travelling fans home from Edinburgh happy.

Robson said:  “I’ve been lucky since I came in the fans have really come with us as we’ve built momentum.

“They have helped us so much and we’ve managed to put performances on the pitch they’ve taken to.

Aberdeen fans during the Europa League play-off match with BK Hacken at Pittodrie. Image: Shutterstock.

“We need to keep that going.

“We’ve had some top performances against Hacken and the 26 shots on goal is unheard of.

“Other games have been difficult coming off the back of Europe and that’s what we’ve got to learn.

“This is where we want to be. We want to be in Europe, we want to learn – that’s why the boys are here, to learn and improve.

“It’s something we’re all really looking forward to.”