McInnes wraps up Daniels loan
NATURALLY he is pleased for what it means to the Aberdeen squad. But Jonny Hayes also has personal reasons for welcoming the news that former Inverness Caledonian Thistle teammate Graeme Shinnie will be joining him at Pittodrie in the summer.
Versatility has done Hayes as an individual and Aberdeen’s collective cause no harm at all.
But as a natural winger the 27-yearold Irishman, who recently showed his own confidence in the club by signing a contract extension that will keep him there until 2015, has been hoping to see a specialist left-back recruited to the club.
“Maybe I’ll get a bit further forward now,” he suggested.
“Myself and Andy [Considine] have been kind of filling in there and Clark [Robertson] has been out injured as well, but you’re always thinking in the back of your mind that there’s a leftback out there somewhere on the manager’s radar.”
He is all the happier given that he knows the new recruit as well as he does.
“Obviously when I heard it was Graeme I was delighted,” he said of the 23-year-old who will be joining his home city club.
“I have seen Graeme develop over the last six years. He was a young lad when I was first up there.
“He went out to Forres on loan, I think it was and got some games and came back in and that month or two seemed to almost change him overnight.
“He started knocking on the door and he was really unlucky those first couple of years I was there to not play more than he did.”
Hayes, who has made close to 90 appearances for Aberdeen since being signed by Craig Brown less than three years ago, clearly believes Shinnie has shown his readiness to make a similar impact once he heads along the A96 and that he will consequently feature immediately in manager Derek McInnes’ plans.
“He has proved he is the best leftback in the league over the past couple of years and was in the team of the year last year,” he observed.
“He just gets better and better and he will be a great acquisition to the squad. He’s proved his versatility whether it be left-back, left wing or central midfield over the last couple of years and for me he has been Caley Thistle’s standout player for the last 24 months.”
Aberdeen are looking to build a squad that is capable of making repeat visits to Scottish football’s big occasions – as they are doing this weekend when they head for Hampden for the League Cup semi-final, continuing a fine defence of the trophy they won last year.
Hayes was also impressed both by the integrity shown by the youngster and the way McInnes went about his business.
“I’m delighted we have finally got him. He’s a good lad as well,” said Hayes.
“I know him from being up there and I rate him highly on and off the pitch. When the rumours started, every time we would play them I would have WEST BROMWICH ALBION defender Donervon Daniels has put pen to paper on a loan deal with Aberdeen until the end of the season.
The 21-year-old joins the squad for Saturday’s League Cup semifinal against Dundee United, subject to clearance of the move.
The Montserratian has not appeared for his club yet, but has had loan spells at Tranmere Rovers, Gillingham and Blackpool over the past few seasons.
“We’ve got a player with a good presence and for who we have a high regard,” commented manager Derek McInnes. a word in his ear and ask him if he was coming or not and he would never give much away.
“It’s a great bit of business by the manager. It took the whole dressing room by surprise. It was actually my missus who told me he had signed – I didn’t even know.
“It shows you how well the manager goes about his business that no-one in the dressing room had even an inkling he was signing.”
While Inverness were beaten by Aberdeen only on penalties in last year’s final and are currently separating them from Saturday’s opponents Dundee United in the Premiership – sitting, as they are, in third place – the difference between the clubs is considerable, as Hayes noted.
“Well I’m sure he likes a Nando’s like most footballers do – and there’s none of them in Inverness,” he joked when asked what differences Shinnie might expect to encounter between the two locations. However, in offering a slightly more serious analysis he pointed out that local knowledge should prove helpful as he makes the adjustment.
“There’s a little bit more expectation here with the bigger crowds and a so-called bigger club,” he observed. “He’s still a young lad as well and he has signed a three-year deal so this is a bigger shop window for him.
“Whether he wants to go on and win international caps and so on Aberdeen can provide him with a better platform for that. But he’s an Aberdonian so I think he already understands that.
“He’ll have his family around and I am sure he has already spoken to a lot of his friends and family over the last few months and I am sure it was a hard decision for him to make.
“But I was always confident when I heard the manager was looking to sign him that he could bring him down.”
WELCOME REINFORCEMENT: Hayes has been filling in at left-back to cover injuries and is delighted Shinnie’s signing will push him back up the park