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Calderwood asks young team for extra festive cheer


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http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/988535

Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood believes momentum is with his side as it slowly closes the gap on the teams above it in the race for Europe.

 

The Dons are six points off third-placed Hearts after their win against Falkirk on Saturday, their fourth consecutive home victory, and Calderwood wants consist-ency to continue during the festive period.

 

He said: “I feel we are building momentum, but we have some difficult away games coming up, including the cup tie at Alloa. Our home games are against the three teams at the top so it couldn’t be any tougher.

 

“We have a huge game on Saturday at Inverness. Hearts and Dundee United play each other so something has to give there. Ideally a draw would be the best result for us, and with Hearts coming here next week it is an important couple of weeks for us.

 

“But before next week we have to make our game at Inverness count.

 

“We have a chance to close the gap again on Saturday and we have to take it.â€

 

The manager has praised his players for their collective effort in hauling the Dons back into the race for Europe, with Lee Miller and Gary McDonald in particular playing key roles in the Reds’ revival.

 

Miller took his goals tally to six for the season with a double in the win against the Bairns while McDonald, who has three goals so far, played an integral part by winning the penalty for Miller’s first. Calderwood said: “The players did wonderfully well on Saturday and the first-half display was one of our best this season.

 

“We have a good team here, and a young one. Gary McDonald and Mark Kerr are settling in well now while Jeffrey de Visscher looked really good on Saturday as well.

 

“Lee is getting all the praise as he has been scoring the goals, but Darren Mackie has done a lot of work alongside him to help. Everybody has been playing their part.

 

“When Gary first came to the club he was quiet, but now he is taking training by the scruff of the neck and dominating. He is brimming with confidence and is now showing the form which earned him a move here.â€

 

Miller’s improved goals tally in recent weeks is due to him playing in a more advanced position, as directed by his manager, and Calderwood has challenged the player to maintain his form and leave the supply to Sone Aluko and Jamie Smith who are close to a first team return following injury.

 

He said: “Lee is learning where he can be most effective. He is a very good player, but he is now finding the areas where he can hurt teams. When he gets on the ball he is dangerous as he showed in the link-up with Gary which led to the penalty on Saturday.

 

“When Jamie and Sone are fit again and playing Lee is going to have to be in the box. If he drops back to the halfway line to get involved he will have no chance of being in the final third to finish moves off.â€

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He said: “Lee is learning where he can be most effective. He is a very good player, but he is now finding the areas where he can hurt teams. When he gets on the ball he is dangerous as he showed in the link-up with Gary which led to the penalty on Saturday.

 

“When Jamie and Sone are fit again and playing Lee is going to have to be in the box. If he drops back to the halfway line to get involved he will have no chance of being in the final third to finish moves off.â€

Better late than never I guess.

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