Jim Goodwin sat down with the media on Friday lunchtime to preview Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup Group A match with Raith Rovers. To watch in full on RedTV, please click on the red button.
Question. How does it feel to finally have Bojan Miovski at Aberdeen?
Answer. “We’re delighted to have him here. He was in at the crack of dawn this morning to meet all the staff and then the players came in just around about nine o’clock. He was excited to meet up with the group again. I think the only one he didn’t meet in Spain was possibly Duk but obviously he got a good introduction with him this morning and I think he was delighted to see to see Ramadani because he wasn’t with us in Spain unfortunately because of the visa process.
“He’s going to be a big player for us this season. The sooner we can get him up to speed and get him up to the necessary fitness levels then the better.”
Q. Is there a chance that he could feature at some point on Sunday?
A. “He will definitely make his debut on Sunday. I’ve just got to decide whether that will be from the start or off the bench but he has been given a really difficult fitness programme with him while he was in North Macedonia. He was working away with Graham Kirk on Zoom and over the phone, just making sure that he’s sticking to what’s being asked of him and in fairness to him he’s done that brilliantly. He trained this morning and looked really sharp, but obviously its the match practice that he is missing. We will need to try and get him as many minutes as possible at the weekend without putting too much pressure on him where he might risk an injury.”
Q. Where are you at in terms of any more potential new faces arriving into the club?
A.” I’m delighted with the business that we’ve done up to now. I think we’ve been one of the busier teams in the Premier League up to this point. Our supporters and anyone who’s been at the games during the League Cup can see the level of quality that we’ve brought to the club. We’ve lost about 15 players from the squad that I got given in February, and we’ve made seven signings, we’ve promoted two or three from the Academy. I want to add another two or three, it’s as simple as that.
“If the league campaign was to start tomorrow, then I wouldn’t be too disappointed with the group that I’ve got to work with. Us as managers are always a little bit greedy and always wanting a little bit more. I’ve got great support from the Board, the Chairman, and from the Director of Football. We’ll continue to work as hard as possible until this window closes.”
Q. Focusing on the game on Sunday, it’s been a great campaign so far, but there is still a little bit of work to do, is that the message that you’ll be hammering home to the players?
A. “Absolutely. There’s still a massive job to be done and the players don’t for one minute think that we’ve qualified for the next round. Look at all the other different permutations that could happen in all the different groups and what I have to say is that the players have been extremely professional up to now, you see how difficult this stage of the competition can be. You only need to look at some of the other Premier League teams in the competition at the moment who have found it very tough.
“My guys have managed to go out and win the last three games quite comfortably and kept three clean sheets, which is something again, that we will look for at the weekend. The Raith Rovers game, without being disrespectful to the previous three teams that we played, will be a step up in quality of opposition. I’m looking forward to seeing how my guys raise their game.
“It’ll be a good challenge, there’s no doubt about it. Ian Murray is a good young manager who will be thinking if they go and get the correct result against us and score the right amount of goals, then they could top the group and qualify automatically.
“We have to be aware of that. We don’t underestimate anybody, regardless of whether it’s a part time team, a full time team or it’s Celtic in the league who we play in 10 days or so, we’ll give everybody the utmost respect. We’re going into every game wanting to win it. We’re on a decent amount of form at the moment. We’re not getting carried away because of the level of opposition that we’ve beaten but there is a real air of positivity and a lot of optimism within the city and within our own group of supporters. We want to maintain that and keep that going and finish off this League Cup campaign on a positive note.”
Q. We spoke to Kelle Roos earlier, how impressed have you been with him and do you see him as your number one going forward?
A. “Kelle has been in the sticks for the last three games. He’s got the jersey for the time being. I did say in my last interview, prior to the Stirling Albion game, I think that nobody should feel safe in the position that they’re in. If they’re in the starting XI at the moment, then they shouldn’t take it for granted. They shouldn’t just assume that they’re going to be in the starting XI the following game, regardless of performance. It’s a performance related business that we are in. We’re all judged on results. The players are judged individually on their own individual performances. Kelle has got the jersey at the moment, but Joe Lewis is breathing down his neck and that’s the way I want it to be.
“Instead of me sitting here and giving Kelle all the credit I think I should give Joe Lewis a bit of credit too because his attitude in pre-season has been different class. He’s been a very loyal servant to Aberdeen over the last few years, and he’s continued to maintain that level of professionalism which I know he would only do because he’s a top bloke, but Kelle has settled in really well. He’s a good character. He’s not a shy type, and that’s what you want from a goalkeeper, you want to talk, organise and have a good strong character in the dressing room and Kelle ticks all those boxes. I’m very fortunate to be in a position that I’ve got two very good goalkeepers who are both capable of being first choice which a lot of other teams in our position probably don’t have.”
Q. Kelle also spoke about the positive atmosphere in the dressing room, comparing it to when you first came in do you feel there is more positivity around the place?
A. “Yeah I think that is obvious. Last season I came in February and it was quite doom and gloom, there’s no getting away from that. That’s only natural because the club as a whole is used to competing for European places and used to going far in the cup competitions. So it was only natural that there was an air of negativity about the place when I came in.
“I had hoped that we’d be able to change it and get a response but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that and then the season kind of petered out. So the new guys that have came in have added a freshness, they have no mental scars from last season. The ones who I have kept on from last season I believe are mentally able to handle what happened last season and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I think Joe Lewis and Jonny Hayes in particular are strong characters, and been used to having success in the earlier part of their career. We’re not giving a minutes thought to be honest with what happened last season. We will not have a repeat of that, I can assure you. I know I put my neck on the chopping block when I come up with a statement like that but believe me, this group of players will be competing at the right end of the table this season, I’m convinced of that. It’s only early days, but what I’ve seen already in terms of the characters within the dressing room fills me with great hope and great optimism.
“We’ve got a really good group of boys that are determined to bring success back and to this great club.”
Q. Just finally is there any update on the fitness of Connor Barron and Jack MacKenzie?
A. “Yeah, they are the only ones that are injury doubts at the moment. Connor we would probably expect to be out for four weeks and MacKenzie could possibly join back in with the group next Monday.”