Bryson: Fergie and I can be new dynamic Dons duo

New Don Craig Bryson
New Don Craig Bryson

New Dons signing Craig Bryson aims to forge a dynamic midfield partnership with teenage star Lewis Ferguson.

Scotland cap Bryson is in contention to make his delayed Aberdeen debut in a friendly against Inverness Caley Thistle in Elgin today.

Bryson has missed the previous two pre-season friendlies due to ankle ligament damage sustained in April at former club Derby.

The 32-year-old faced a fight to be fit for the Europa League first qualifying round first leg with RoPS Rovaniemi on Thursday.

He looks to have won that battle having this week returned to full training.

Wingers Niall McGinn (ankle) and Connor McLennan (knee) are also set to return for the Dons today having recovered from recent surgery.

Bryson is relishing linking up with Ferguson, 19, who was short-listed for the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award last season.

He said: “I am really looking forward to playing next to Lewis and seeing how he progresses. I watched Lewis a couple of times last season and he is a really good player with a lot of potential.

“Hopefully I can help Lewis with his progression.”

Bryson was one of the key signings of the summer having spent eight seasons in England with Derby County.

He rejected the offer of a new contract with the Rams and opted to sign on at Aberdeen.

Following the loss of captain Graeme Shinnie at the end of last season, coincidentally to Derby, boss Derek McInnes was desperate to sign an experienced, combative box-to-box midfielder. Bryson ticks those boxes.

The Scotland international is determined to use his time down south, during which he racked up more than 250 appearances for Derby, to help Aberdeen’s emerging youngsters progress.

He said: “The role for every experienced player should be to help the younger ones.

“You have to think back to when you were a young player and coming through.

“I had older players alongside me at Kilmarnock and Clyde that helped me massively.

“When you get into your 30s the roles are reversed so it is up to me and the other experienced, older players at the club to help the youngsters through.”

Bryson came through the training sessions at the end of the week and is set to make his debut off the bench today.

Dons boss McInnes had hoped to secure an attacking midfielder before UEFA’s deadline to register players for the Europa League first qualifying round expired at 11pm last night.

Although there was no addition before the deadline, the Dons can still register a new signing up to 48 hours before Thursday’s kick-off against RoPS Rovaniemi as a wildcard. McInnes has targeted Sunderland’s Dylan McGeouch to come in to bolster his attacking midfield options.

McGeouch, 26, recently exercised an option in his contract to extend his Sunderland deal by another year until 2020.

However Black Cats boss Jack Ross has to offload players to free up cash to fund any additions to his squad.

McGeouch, formerly of Hibernian, was not even in the squad for Sunderland’s 2-1 play-off final loss to Charlton Athletic at Wembley last season.

McInnes aims to have a midfielder signed by Tuesday’s wildcard cut-off.

Finnish side RoPS are struggling in their domestic league and have won just once in five games.

The Finns drew 0-0 with bottom side Kokkolan Palloveikot at the weekend.

Bryson said: “They are in the Europa League for a reason, just like ourselves.

“RoPS are halfway through their season whilst it will be our first competitive game.

“We are using the pre-season to build up our match fitness and sharpness for that first leg.”