Jimmy Thelin seeing Aberdeen FC progress already as new look Dons gear up for Swede's dugout debut

-Credit: (Image: Ross Johnston/Newsline media)
-Credit: (Image: Ross Johnston/Newsline media)

Jimmy Thelin will unveil his new-look Aberdeen team this week and admits he is still seeing progress every day within his squad.

The Dons will play their first public games under their new manager this week, first heading to Peterhead for a testimonial game on Wednesday. Then comes the competitive kick-off in the Premier Sports Cup away to Queen of the South on Saturday. The Swede and his players have just returned from their pre-season camp in Portugal and Thelin said: “We had some really good days with lots of training but also time in the evenings and in between training to get to know each other.

“It’s been an important week for everyone. The players have done really well. We tried not to give them too much information too soon but the players have been amazing. The energy is there, they are curious and they want to work together. You have to respect how quickly you can do things but I still see progress every day.”

Aberdeen couldn’t get a friendly in Portugal but did play an internal match at the weekend. Thelin has been pleased with what he has seen but knows the real gauge will be when the competitive action starts. He added: “We had an internal game and the lines showed up more consistently. That’s what we want to achieve now – to make things happen more consistently.

“It’s easy to be good when everything is fine and going well. But the key is to show up and take the points when there are hard times. You cannot go through a season without struggling a little bit but we have to be strong together and take these points which are important at the end of the season.

“We can help each other to grow together and this week is a good start but we cannot stop. It’s an injection when you have so many hours together but now we have to keep working and keep building.”

Thelin has come in with his assistants Christer Persson and Emir Bajrami but also fused them into the existing staff, including first-team coach Peter Leven. Goalkeeping coach Craig Hinchcliffe has also come in from St Johnstone. Thelin said: “We have good experts but how they work together is the most important thing and it hasn’t been any problem at all. Everything is already together and we have the same goal of wanting to do well for Aberdeen.”

The Dons return to Cormack Park this week where they will be reunited with new signing Peter Ambrose. The striker missed the trip to Portugal because of visa issues. His manager added: “He has done well and is ready to train with the team again.”

Thelin is still actively working on the transfer front and added: “It’s always a process. We want to improve. Let’s see what the future brings.”

The limited activity opened the door for youngsters, like Fletcher Boyd, Adam Emslie, Alfie Bavidge, Findlay Marshall and Alfie Stewart, to impress the manager in Portugal. The majority were part of Aberdeen’s Under-18-winning team, while Boyd impressed with two goals in his first two senior games.

Thelin told RedTV: “It has been a chance for them to show themselves. As a young player, it is good to be in the first team a lot and have role models.

“We have that in the first team and players can be really good coaches for young players. There is a lot of potential with these players but they need time. We’re here to help them grow so this contact time has been really good for them.”