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Q&A with Jimmy Calderwood


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Aluko is man to unlock Accies

Winger is final piece of jigsaw, says Jimmy

 

Published: 12/09/2008

 

DONS manager Jimmy Calderwood is in buoyant mood ahead of tomorrow’s match against SPL new boys Hamilton Accies.

 

Calderwood also took time to set the record straight on a signing rumour and praised the return of fans’ favourite Sone Aluko.

Q What are your thoughts ahead of the Hamilton game?

 

A I’m looking forward to it but it will be tough because we were fortunate to beat them last year in the cup. Hamilton have also made a great start to their SPL campaign. But we have two home games in a row and have to look to take full points. It will be a hard 90 minutes because Hamilton have no pressure on them. They have a bit of a free spirit about them and will come to Pittodrie determined to enjoy themselves. If we let them play they are capable of upsetting us in the way Inverness Caley did. But I’ve sensed a real change in mood in our camp over the last few weeks. We are determined not to fail in front of our own fans.

 

Q Will the Dons fans get the chance to see Sone Aluko back in a red shirt?

 

A There is a fair chance of that, especially now that we will be without Jamie Smith because of injury. You do most transfers to get bums on seats. But Sone will get the bums off the seats. His skills will get the Dons fans jumping with excitement. If you look back at our games during the pre-season we lacked that little bit of extra creativity. Sone will provide that and it will be exciting for everyone. Hamilton are unlikely to sit in as tight as some teams do when they come to Pittodrie. But if they do attempt to close the game down, Sone is the sort of player who can cut them open and create scoring opportunities. I’m delighted the Dons fans have reacted positively to Sone’s return. Supporters were on desperately trying to find out what Sone’s squad number would be because they wanted to buy replica shirts. I’ve never heard of that sort of reaction from Aberdeen fans before. I’m just as excited because Sone was the one we wanted to keep the most. We chased him the whole summer and I look on Sone as the final part of the jigsaw. The way the fans have reacted has given Sone a massive lift and I’m sure he will be eager to repay them in the Hamilton game. The fact he also has a point to prove to certain people will fire him up as well.

 

Q Who in particular do you mean by that?

 

A I don’t think Sone is too happy with the way things worked out at Birmingham. I can understand that because it was a surprise they let a player of his quality go. He is versatile as well as highly skilled. I saw Sone play central midfield for the England youth side and he was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. It cost us a fee to get Sone back but the club know it is a wise investment. They will get their money back.

 

Q Are the rumours that you attempted to sign Sol Bamba before he moved from Dunfermline to Hibs true?  :rofl:

 

A That is nonsense. I even heard tales that we are supposed to have made a £50,000 bid for the player. It is a load of rubbish. We got a call asking if we wanted to take him and they got their answer right away. We are well covered at the back. Andrew Considine and Lee Mair were outstanding in the last couple of games. We also have Zander Diamond and Scott Severin back and a few younger defenders eager to make their mark. There was no need to look at anyone else at this stage.

 

Q Does that mean Mair and Considine are going to retain their places for the Hamilton game?

 

A That question will be answered when the players walk out tomorrow. I’m pleased we saw two very strong defensive displays in the wins against St Mirren and Ayr United. It has given me food for thought for tomorrow. We have so many options now with a squad of 23 fit players, I’m going to have to leave good ones out altogether, never mind just drop them on to the bench. I’m confident the strong competition for places will have a positive effect on the level of performances for the rest of the season. The players know if their standards drop it could be a while before they get back into the side.

 

Q You now have the youngest squad in the SPL, with an average age of 24. Are you happy with that?

 

A Very happy, because it’s the way the club has to go if it wants to be a force in the years ahead. I don’t know if I will still be around to reap the benefits because managers come and go so much nowadays. But it’s great that we have such an exciting, young, group of players. We have around eight younger ones playing regularly. They are backed up by the likes of Peter Pawlett, Ryan Jack and Jonathan Crawford and a few others. The future is bright for the Dons on that front, and that pleases me. If I ever do leave Pittodrie I would hate for the next manager to come in and moan that I’ve left the place in a mess. When I look around now I can see that won’t be the case.

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