Boss Derek McInnes today backed on-loan Zak Vyner to excel as a midfielder for Aberdeen this season.
Vyner was secured on loan from Championship Bristol City as a defender to help alleviate an injury crisis among the back-line.
But Vyner has been utilised as a defensive midfielder in the last four games due to injury and suspension absences in that area.
The 22-year-old had never played in midfield during his pro career.
However, on signing for the Dons in July McInnes informed the stopper that midfield was a role in which he thought he could star.
The Reds hope to welcome back Craig Bryson from injury for Saturday’s trip to Ross County.
Midfielder Bryson, 32, missed the 3-0 defeat of Kilmarnock at the weekend with the recurrence of an ankle injury.
Despite Bryson’s imminent return McInnes insists Vyner could still be utilised in midfield.
He said: “Zak has taken to the midfield very well and I have been pleased with him.
“Obviously it was forced upon us to play Zak in midfield, in light of the options we had.
“However, he has shown a lot in that position, although Celtic (4-0 defeat) was difficult for him, as it was for all of them.”
Vyner was signed on loan from Bristol City in early August, on the eve of the 2-0 Europa League loss to HNK Rijeka in Croatia.
Although secured on a season-long loan, there is a recall option for Bristol City.
Having signed on at Pittodrie, Vyner subsequently featured at both right back and centre-back.
But as Bryson was injured and Lewis Ferguson suspended, McInnes opted to push the defender forward into a midfield role for the recent 3-0 away defeat of Motherwell.
Central midfielder Funso Ojo is also out until the end of the year with a hamstring tear and Republic of Ireland international Stephen Gleeson is battling back to fitness having undergone knee surgery during pre-season.
McInnes said: “I did say when Zak signed for us I thought midfield was a position he could play.
“Zak is really enjoying it, which is great for me.
“It is all right me thinking Zak can do it and picking him to play there. However, the player also has to buy into it and feel that is a position he can excel in. And I think Zak can.”
Aberdeen’s injury problems are finally lessening with centre-back Ash Taylor scheduled to return to the squad for the away clash at Ross County.
Taylor has been sidelined for 13 weeks having suffered a hamstring tear in the 1-1 draw with Chikhura Sachkhere in Georgia.
The summer signing was close to a return six weeks ago, only to suffer a setback in his rehabilitation.
Midfielder Gleeson has also returned to training.
Centre-back Scott McKenna, named in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad, has started the last five games after six weeks out with a hamstring tear.
McInnes said: “Just getting some bodies back on the training pitch can lift the squad.
“At one point we had eight players out.
“Outwith Celtic and Rangers, no team can contend with that.
“Gleeson is still working away on building up his fitness.”
Following the 4-0 loss to Celtic at Pittodrie, boss McInnes set his squad a target of taking a maximum nine points from the games against Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Ross County before the international break.
They will meet that challenge if the Dons see off Ross County.
McInnes said: “There is a demand to win games at Aberdeen regardless of who you are playing against.
“If we can just work away quietly and go on a winning run then we will feel a bit better about ourselves.”