With no more new signings likely, Dons boss Derek McInnes says it’s key he gets more out of the players he’s got.
Aberdeen have retained the vast majority of their squad from last season, losing only loanees Jon Gallagher and Greg Leigh, who returned to parent clubs Atlanta United and NAC Breda, while fringe players Danny Rogers and Frank Ross were released.
The one new addition to the Reds’ ranks is Jonny Hayes returning for a second stint at Pittodrie. However, that move was only made possible by the Irishman deferring his wages for a year.
As a result of the impact the coronavirus crisis has had on Aberdeen’s finances, McInnes says there will be no more signings this summer, unless someone departs.
But the Premiership’s longest-serving manager is confident in the squad at his disposal.
McInnes said: “We’re not able to (make any more signings), I know other clubs are managing to work their way the financial crisis and still make signings.
“But for us we feel it has to be one in, one out because we’ve no money to spend on players, the chairman and board are fully supportive of what we’re doing.
“Fortunately we’ve got a lot of players under contract from last season and it’s up to us to get more out of them.
“If we get a fair crack at it with injuries then we have got a strong squad anyway.
“Every manager wants to make three or four signings to freshen it up, but I couldn’t be more pleased with getting Jonny in.”
One player most Dons fans will hope to see more from in the new season – which starts a week on Saturday when Rangers visit Pittodrie – is Craig Bryson.
The 33-year-old midfielder, signed last summer following his release by Derby County, was limited to just 12 appearances last term as a result of ankle problems.
McInnes added: “He’s not got going at all and that’s not for the want of trying.
“Anybody that’s worked with him or knows him, knows that he’s very professional with his work and very hard on himself.
“Looking back, I feel a bit guilty of putting pressure on him to play more or the physios to get him out on the pitch and I think we’ve all been guilty of pushing him before he was maybe ready.
“But he’s been so unlucky. He came to us with an ankle injury, but it was the other ankle and that’s healed fine – he passed a strict medical before he came.
“But it’s the other ankle which he’d never had any problems with. I think there’s a feeling out there that we signed a player with an ankle problem and it’s continued to be a problem.
“It was the other ankle and he’s never had any problems with it and sometimes that’s the way it happens.
“He’s now put together three weeks of solid pre-season work and has now completed three lots of 60 minutes in 11v11s.
“He’s going the right way considering he’s been out a lengthy period of time.”
McInnes believes Bryson is different to the other midfielders in his squad and can provide a similar dynamic to former Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie, who left for Derby last summer.
He said: “He is different to our midfielders.
“We’ve got young (Dean) Campbell who can handle the ball and is easy on the eye, there’s (Lewis) Ferguson who can do a bit of everything.
“There’s (Funso) Ojo who’s a proper No 6 and can control the nature of the game and is comfortable in possession and (Dylan) McGeouch is similar.
“Bryson gives us a dynamic, like Shinnie he can get up and down the pitch, can turn the ball over, get you a goal and run past your centre-forward – and he’s got that added benefit of experience.
“I’m fed up sometimes shouting onto the pitch I want my players to be talking more and organising more and one thing you get when Bryson is on the pitch, whether in training or in a game, is that you hear him and for me a centre midfielder has to have that in his game.”