Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes today confirmed he is closing in on signing teen star Frank Ross on a new deal.
The 19-year-old made a spectacular breakthrough into the Dons first team with a memorable free-kick goal in the recent 2-1 loss to Rangers.
Ross’ Pittodrie contract expires at the end of the season.
McInnes has already entered into talks with the Scotland U19 cap about securing his long-term future at Aberdeen.
And he is confident Ross will join fellow rising stars Scott Wright and Scott McKenna in signing new deals.
McInnes said: “We have spoken with Frank and he is one we would like to try to keep with us a bit longer.
“I am sure there won’t be a problem there as Frank is keen to stay and keep developing.”
McInnes also hopes to step up contract talks this week with defender Anthony O’Connor whose deal expires at the end of the season.
The Dons gaffer met with chairman Stewart Milne yesterday to discuss the budget and potential targets for the January transfer window.
Northern Ireland international Niall McGinn is a free agent having terminated his contract by mutual consent with South Korean side Gwangju last month.
McInnes this week confirmed he is keen to take McGinn back to the club.
The wing ace rejected a new Dons deal at the end of last season to move on and is being tracked by Hibs and Hearts.
McInnes said: “We have a recruitment meeting this week and have an idea of what we’d like to do in January with a couple of positions.”
Rising star Ross followed up his stunner against Rangers by securing his first start for the Reds in the recent 1-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park last Friday.
He missed the 3-0 win at St Johnstone having picked up an ankle knock in training earlier this week.
The teen is expected to be fit for selection for Saturday’s Premiership clash against Hibs at Pittodrie.
McInnes said: “Frank turned his ankle in training on Monday and we assessed him on Wednesday morning before we travelled to Perth.
“It is nothing serious and it will just be a 48-hour thing.”
Ross would be the latest emerging star from the Pittodrie youth system who has broken into the first team and committed his long-term future to the Dons.
Winger Wright, 20, and centre-back McKenna, 20, both penned contract extensions in October tying them to the Reds until summer 2021.
Scotland U21 captain McKenna has been a regular first team starter this season while fellow Scotland U21 cap Wright has made 13 appearances.
McInnnes said: “This season we have managed to introduce a few more youngsters into the team and get a bit more game time.
“That is something you always want to do while you keep getting results.
“There’s still some positives over the last few games in terms of the youngsters getting some game time.
“It’s always a step towards where they’re going to be in their development, and gaining that experience.
“McKenna has grabbed his opportunity and seen off everything in his way and has been outstanding.
“Others have been in and out. Sometimes with the position they play you can’t expect them to be 100% on it, so there’s lots of learning still to be done.
“Hopefully, we can keep getting results and keep getting those little moments of experience that gets them closer to where they want to be.
“Frank (Ross) will be one of those.”
Centre-back McKenna has started 12 successive games since being drafted into the starting line up for the 1-0 Premiership win over Motherwell in September.
Wright made a sensational breakthrough when scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 win at Partick Thistle at the end of the previous Premiership season.
McInnes said: “Players like McKenna show what can be done if you show a level of performance, like he has, to become a regular.
“That is the challenge to all the younger ones and Frank Ross is certainly one we feel can overcome that challenge if he continues to work hard.”