McInnes wraps up Daniels loan

The Herald - Sport - - LEAGUE CUP SEMI-FINALS -

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

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