Date: 11th July 2007 at 2:16am
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Jimmy Calderwood has a vital month ahead of him as he looks to mould together his best team from all the possible permutations he now has at his disposal and he`s only too pleased to see that his players are desperately trying to make sure they`re in his plans.

As Aberdeen finally gear up for their pre-season friendlies Jimmy has admitted that he has no real idea of who is a certainty for a starting jersey or in some cases, if they players will even still be at the club.

Question still marks hangover disgraced and publicly denounced ‘keeper Jamie Langfield as the club have basically pleaded for someone to come in and take him away from Pittodrie but with no takers as yet and none expected by the boss.

Ex-Sunderland player Dan Smith was tipped take the SPL by storm and a bit of a transfer coup by Jimmy when he signed the England Under 21 capped player but he struggled in his first season and only now does the manager think he is getting to see the quality of the left back he brought north.

Jimmy said to Reds Online about the player who is now determined to show his worth to the team, ‘We have seen a different Dan in pre-season than we did last season. He missed pre-season last year and it was difficult for him.

‘There has been reported interest from Yeovil and Darlington in the kid, but he has returned as the Dan I saw playing at Sunderland. He was told at the end of last season he had not been good enough. But to be fair to the lad he has gone away and sorted himself out.

‘I can see the difference in training. We never doubted his ability. He has a great left foot and is one of the best crossers of the ball at this club if he gets into an attacking position, but the problem was, he wasn’t getting into those positions last season.’

The resurgence of Dan will only further complicate Jimmy`s thoughts as he tries to complete the jigsaw of making his best side and with the addition of versatile players such as Jackie McNamara, Lee Mair and Jeffrey De Visscher, Jimmy admits that he is clueless as to what his first pick eleven will be and even the players who done so for him last season and during his time at Aberdeen, will have to impress him all over again.

‘Every player must be on their toes.

‘No-one is guaranteed a starting place and it is up to them to impress me every day in training.

‘Obviously there has to be some loyalty for players who have done really well for you, but only as long as they are still doing the business.

‘No-one’s place is set in stone.’

‘I am sure a lot of them will be worried about who I will play in the first game of the season.

‘Others will be looking to take their chance and force their way into the team.

‘There is obviously a gap left with Russell Anderson leaving, but no-one’s place is 100% guaranteed.

‘As far as the team, formation or tactics are concerned that is not set in stone either.

‘They players must keep working hard.’

Not quite a Man U standard of strength in depth but options and quality cover for every position will play a huge factor in the Dons success levels next season and there is every reason to be optimistic that there will be some.

Although no doubt many fans would be far more likely to agree that the goalkeeping area is a huge concern for them.