Midfielder Lewis Ferguson insists the pressure is now on every player to impress new Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass.
Glass will not be in the dugout for today’s league clash at St Johnstone as he is currently in quarantine.
The 44-year-old former Atlanta United 2 boss has to self-isolate for 10 days, having flown in from the United States.
Interim boss Paul Sheerin will take charge of the first team for a third, and final, game today.
Everyone in the team knows the new manager will be keeping a close eye on us.
“We know he has been watching this season and will be watching even closer this weekend.”
Glass will not not begin working with the Dons squad until Tuesday when his quarantine period is over.
However, the new gaffer will be watching the game at St Johnstone remotely and Ferguson accepts everyone will be under the microscope.
He said: “Everyone in the team knows the new manager will be keeping a close eye on us.
“We know he has been watching this season and will be watching even closer this weekend.
“First and foremost, for ourselves, we have to go out and get all three points.
“But we also have to try to impress so that when he does come in he has a good understanding and idea of what we are all about.”
Players will also be fighting for their Dons futures under Glass as eight are out of contract at the end of the season.
A further four have loan deals that expire in the summer.
While in quarantine, Glass has allowed interim boss Sheerin autonomy with team selection and tactics.
However, the new manager has had telephone conversations with individual players this week.
Ferguson said: “I spoke to him briefly over the phone the other day.
“I think the other boys have spoken to him as well.
“I spoke to him for 10 or 15 minutes and we chatted about football, how it has been and how he sees things going forward.
“It was very positive and we are looking forward to getting him in.”
Glass may be in self-isolation, but he has already made his message clear on what he expects of the Dons when he takes over early next week.
With third spot still up for grabs and a Scottish Cup campaign to be fought, he has challenged the Reds to “knuckle down” until the end of this season.
Ferguson insists Glass is focused on finishing this campaign strongly before turning to a summer rebuild.
Ferguson said: “He was chatting about the games recently and how I have felt in the games.
“He spoke about the rest of this season and next season and how we really need to knuckle down over these last five games because they are massive for us.
“If we want to go on and achieve that third spot then we are going to need to win most of the games and hope other results go our way.
“We need to focus on this season before we start thinking about the next.”
Aberdeen’s bid to finish third in the Premiership has been derailed by an inability to score.
The Dons have failed to score in nine of the last 10 Premiership matches, with the only league goal coming in a 1-0 defeat of Kilmarnock on February 20.
On-loan St Johnstone striker Callum Hendry netted that goal against Killie and also scored in the 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat of Dumbarton.
Hendry, 23, is ineligible to face his parent club today due to the terms of his loan deal.
Ferguson remains Aberdeen’s leading scorer this season with nine goals, but has not netted since a 3-3 draw with Celtic on October 25.
The 21-year-old was denied a goal in the third round defeat of Dumbarton when his downwards header at the near post was brilliantly saved by keeper Sam Ramsbottom.
He insists the squad have undergone rigorous shooting drills this week in training under interim manager Paul Sheerin in a bid to bring an edge in attack.
Scotland Under-21 cap Ferguson said: “For a striker and a forward-thinking player, it is probably a confidence thing.
“When confidence is high, everything hits the back of the net and when it’s low you really struggle.
“But Paul and Barry (Robson) have been really good with us.
“They are really good coaches who everyone respects.
“We have really worked on our build-up play recently and I think that’s showed in the games.
“We are doing loads of drills to get into the final third and apply that finishing touch, which is really needed.”
For all the repetition of drills in training, Ferguson accepts delivering goals should ultimately come naturally to a forward.
He insists the ongoing situation with Chelsea striker Timo Werner, a £45 million signing from RB Leipzig last summer, proves that point.
German international Werner has netted just one Premier League goal since October.
But Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel had a relaxed approach to his goal drought – and is confident it will end.
Ferguson said: “It should come natural to a forward player, hitting the back of the net.
“Confidence obviously affects that.
“I heard the Chelsea manager talk about Timo Werner the other day.
“He obviously not scored in a while and he sent him in from training because he wanted to do extra shooting.
“He said it would come naturally and I think it does.
“That’s a top manager saying that.
“Once the confidence is high, you can go and score more often because we are creating more chances at the moment.
“We are just not managing to find the back of the net.”
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) April 6, 2021