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UEFA Europa Conference League

HJK Helsinki v Aberdeen

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Three Trialists in - P&J

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By ALEX MARTIN and michael gannon


Published: 13/07/2009


Aberdeen transfer target Stephen Hughes will sign for Hearts today.


The former Rangers midfielder, who turned down a contract extension offer from Motherwell at the end of last season, had been targeted by Dons manager Mark McGhee as the man to replace captain Scott Severin, who moved to the English Championship with Watford.


Norwich manager Bryan Gunn had offered Hughes a £7,000 per week contract and said: “Stephen's a player we have inquired about. He's out of contract, he's a quality player. But I'm not surprised he’s got a number of clubs after his signature."


Hughes said no to a move to the League One club and the Dons' SPL rivals Hearts have acted quickly to secure the 26-year-old on a free transfer, offering him a contract the Dons had no hope of matching.


Meanwhile, Dons director of football Willie Miller will today join the squad in Austria to begin contract negotiations with several leading players who are coming to the end of their deals at Pittodrie. Attackers Tommy Wright and Lee Miller, goalkeeper Jamie Langfield and defenders Charlie Mulgrew and Richard Foster are among those who have just 12 months remaining on their contracts.


McGhee wants to protect the club’s assets after watching Ross McCormack leave Motherwell for nothing to sign for Cardiff City, where he is now being touted as a £3million player.

McGhee said: “One or two of these players look to me as if they’re going to become right good players. It’s a little bit like McCormack at Motherwell. We were caught with our pants down because he had a poor season the season before I got there.


“Then all of a sudden. almost overnight. he was sensational and by that time he hadn’t signed a contract.


“One of the reasons I stayed at Motherwell last year was because I knew I could more or less keep that squad together. One of the reasons I decided to leave this year was because I knew the squad was breaking up. What I don’t want to happen is for this squad I’ve got here now to break up next year. I’d like to think they’ll be here for two or three years.â€

McGhee is also looking at three un-named trialists in Austria – a Polish defender, a French centre back and a German forward. He added: “I think it’s only when we want to take them back with us or keep them a bit longer that we should speak about who they are.â€

McGhee has been happy with the players’ attitude at their training camp in the Austrian hills. The players have been put through rigorous routines since arriving but have also worked on technical and tactical aspects.


McGhee said: “At home they seemed bright, enthusiastic and willing and they have continued that We have seen there is good quality in the squad. It is really encouraging.â€


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