Dons boss Derek McInnes today confirmed he aims to sign a replacement left-back with the same qualities as Max Lowe in the January window.
Derby County have confirmed Lowe will return to Pride Park when his loan deal expires at the end of this month.
Lowe has impressed since arriving in late August and McInnes had hoped to strike a deal with the Rams to extend the 21-year-old’s time with the Reds into a season-long loan.
However, Derby boss Frank Lampard confirmed in talks with McInnes this week that Lowe would return to his parent club in January.
With Derby suffering a left-back injury crisis McInnes anticipated bad news in the bid to retain Lowe and has been eyeing potential replacements in recent weeks.
McInnes, whose side face Hearts at Pittodrie today, said: “Although the information was not what we wanted we will see if we can identify someone who can give us similar qualities to what Max has given us.
“Max going back to Derby is disappointing but we had been kind of preparing for that over the last six to eight weeks really.
“We knew it would be something that we would maybe have to react to. We all saw the benefits of having had a left-back in Max and if we can get something like that it might be something we would look at.”
Lowe has made 21 appearances for the Dons this season and has been a regular starter in recent months.
Derby boss Lampard opted not to extend Lowe’s loan deal because he is short on left-back options. Scotland international left-back Craig Forsyth suffered a serious knee injury this month that is expected to keep him out for the rest of the campaign.
Swedish international Marcus Olsson is still recovering from a long-term knee injury, leaving Scott Malone as the only senior left-back available.
McInnes said: “Derby have injury issues with a couple of their left-backs.
“Max is going back to play. The feedback is that he is not just going back to sit on the bench.
“They have been watching him closely and they see the development in him and how well he has done for us.
“I am not surprised Derby feel he can go back there and play now.”
While McInnes aims to bring in another left-back in January, he insists there is no panic to land the right candidate as there are players who can operate in that position already at the club.
Andy Considine, currently playing at right centre-back while Mikey Devlin is out injured until the new year, has played left-back in recent seasons.
McInnes said: “There are people in the building that can play left-back.
“We will have defenders coming back in January as well with Mikey Devlin, Mark Reynolds and Tommie Hoban, which helps that side of it.”
Centre-back Reynolds returned to full-training yesterday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in July.
McInnes said: “Mark was back in full training and it is brilliant to have him back.
“He has been there or thereabouts with us for the last few weeks doing bits and pieces.”
Aberdeen will today face Hearts in the knowledge a fourth straight win will keep them in the mix at the top of the Premiership.
They are just three points behind leaders Celtic, who they host on Boxing Day.
Hearts are reeling after suffering a 5-0 loss to Livingston and McInnes expects a reaction.
He said: “When you lose that type of game all you do is work even harder.
“Hearts have had a whole week to get ready for this game so I am pretty sure they will have been working and getting organised to try to come up here to be harder to play against.
“On the back of that match (5-0 loss) I don’t think it makes our game any easier.
“When you lose like that you expect a reaction from your team and Hearts are too good a team not to have a reaction.
“They have too much experience and ability and a good manager who will get them back to winning ways before long. We just have to hope it is after today.”
The top five of the Premiership is so congested the Dons could conceivably be sitting top of the table at New Year if they can maintain their winning streak before the winter shutdown.
McInnes refuses to look that far ahead.
He said: “It is good that we are in and around it but we are just looking at the next game against Hearts.
“However, there is no doubting we can clearly see the benefits of getting consecutive wins.”
McInnes has challenged the Reds to beat Hearts today to reach the 36-point mark at the Premiership’s halfway stage.
He said: “We felt it was important to hit the 36 points after 19 games.
“Hearts is the 19th game of the Premiership and the halfway stage and it’s normally where we are, on target to break 70 points.
“I said to the players prior to the St Mirren game they have three games to get to 36 points.
“We’ve had those two wins since then, and have taken nine points since Livingston (3-2 win).
“Now we go and try to get the next three against Hearts.
“If we can win to get that it will give a more familiar reflection of what we normally produce at that halfway stage.”
Winger Gary Mackay-Steven is out of today’s clash as he is still recovering from concussion having been knocked unconscious in the 1-0 Betfred Cup loss to Celtic on December 2.
He could be fit to face Celtic at Pittodrie on Boxing Day. Centre-back Mikey Devlin is out until January with a foot tendon injury.