Dom’s desperate to get ball rolling on his Aberdeen career – now at right-back

Dominic Ball.
Picture by Heather Fowlie
Dominic Ball. Picture by Heather Fowlie

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is ready to sign a defender to solve his right-back crisis but Dom Ball insists he can provide the solution.

Right-back Shaleum Logan is set to undergo surgery on an ankle injury and will be sidelined for at least two months.

In a further injury blow, on-loan Watford defender Tommie Hoban, who can also play at right-back, is ruled out for the rest of the season.

Hoban will require surgery on cruciate ligament damage sustained in the recent 2-2 draw with St Mirren.

McInnes has confirmed that will force him to source a defender who is out of contract and available outwith a transfer window.

However, Ball, now back to full fitness after struggling with a back injury, is confident he can fill that right-back void.

He impressed when starting in that position in the 2-0 defeat of St Johnstone, his first start since December 29 (2-1 win at Livingston).

Ball said: “I just want to play.

“If that means playing right wing, striker, goalkeeper – get me in there.

“As the games go on I will start developing and start improving in certain areas. I really look forward to hopefully getting a run of games.

“It is not always nice coming back into the team because someone in that position has been injured.

“But that is the whole point in having a good squad. Players have got to fill in over different positions and we have Shaleum and Tommie out.

“Against St Johnstone it was my responsibility to go and play there.

“The gaffer put his trust in me and I did my best.”

The 23-year-old had been struggling with a back problem since the warm weather training camp in Dubai in early January.

He had been limited to a brief three-minute cameo appearance off the bench in the 3-0 defeat of Hamilton four weeks ago.

With his back problem now resolved Ball was desperate to get a chance to impress – and when it came he grabbed it.

“I have not played for six weeks so I was just excited to be back,” said Ball.

“As soon as I got on the pitch I wanted to get on the ball, make tackles and be on the front foot.

“I think my performance reflected that.

“To come back into the team and for the team to put in a performance like that, it was one of those days in football that I really enjoyed.

“I have been in the squad every single game recently but I have not been fit. And if I am not fit I am not going to play.

“Since the last three or four games I have been asking for my chance and wanted to get back in.

“I had been out for so long and played in only one reserve game recently. That excitement and motivation of being back on the pitch got me through.”

Ball played a key role in the opening goal in Perth as he won possession then powered upfield before sliding a pass to scorer Graeme Shinnie. Club captain Shinnie netted a brace against Saints, both superb strikes, to underline his importance.

Scotland international Shinnie is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to make a decision on his future.

Aberdeen have offered him a deal that would make him the highest-paid player at Pittodrie.

However, the 27-year-old is also attracting interest in England with Hull City, Brentford and Wigan Athletic monitoring the midfielder.

Ball insists all the Dons players want Shinnie to commit his future to the club but they are in the dark about their captain’s intentions.

He said: “Everyone is hoping Shinnie will stay but it is his decision and his career. We really don’t know (what he will decide).

“He has been so good for the club this season once again.

“As a leader we would love him to stay but we will have to see.

“Shinnie absolutely loves the club and he does a lot for it on and off the pitch.

“A lot of the players in the changing room appreciate the support we get from the Aberdeen supporters.

“Shinnie leads by example and has shown how important he is to the team.

“When your skipper is scoring two goals that is massive.”