Hayes ready to fight for place
Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes is determined to win a place in Craig Brown's side, which he believes is one of the strongest in the league.
The Irishman has been forced to settle for substitute appearances in the last two outings against Kilmarnock and Dundee United after recovering from injury.
The form of Ryan Fraser has made competition even stiffer but Hayes accepts he must bide his time and make an impact when the opportunity arises.
He said: "I knew after missing a game I wouldn't come straight back in. The team won two games on the bounce.
"It is a little bit frustrating but you can't do anything. You can't argue with the gaffer, he's picking a team and the team are performing.
"The team are doing well and I'm happy from that point of view.
"We have one of the best squads in the SPL, without a doubt. You only have to look at the strength of our bench most weeks.
"All players have to understand you can't just walk into the team.
"You have to bide your time and work harder off the pitch, in training, and in the gym and wait for your opportunity.
"When you get a chance you have to take it."
The Dons head into tomorrow's clash with Dundee sitting third in the SPL and undefeated since the opening day loss to champions Celtic.
Hayes said: "From the first day I came here, I realised it was the right move.
"We do have a great squad and we deserve to be where we are.
"The confidence is growing within the squad. You can see it at training every day.
"The boys are a buzzing. Training is very sharp and the standard is very good.
"Considering the points we dropped early in the season, points we should have gained, we probably deserve to be top of the league at the minute.
"It's not to be so all we can do is look forward to the games ahead. Three points on Saturday would put us right back up there."
Visitors Dundee may be bottom of the table but Hayes is taking nothing for granted.
He said: "This league has proven anybody can beat anybody on their day.
"They will be fighting but we would expect Dundee to be like most teams who come to Pittodrie, they will sit back and defend.
"We have seen that numerous times this season. We have to adjust our tactics and our game to go about getting the three points."