Craig Brown believes Aberdeen will be difficult to beat in his first game in charge at Hibernian on Sunday, with his squad set to be boosted by the signing of David McNamee.
The Dons sit bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League ahead of the Boxing Day fixture at Easter Road, a match which will see Brown and his assistant Archie Knox assume control for the first time since joining from Motherwell earlier this month.
Scotland international full-back McNamee, who is a free agent after leaving Plymouth, is set to sign for the Dons on Friday and Brown said : "He'll join us for our session on Friday but we'll not be in a position to start with him on Sunday. I think the best we can say right now is part of the squad."
He added: "He's a top-quality player. He's an accomplished player and he was picked for the national team on four occasions.
"To have got into the international reckoning and into the team tells you that he's got good capability. He'll be a good acquisition for this club, certainly until the end of the season. Let's hope he lives up to our expectations."
Brown and Knox watched from the stands as the Dons were defeated 5-0 at Hearts on December 11 and were thwarted by the weather as last week's match against Motherwell was called off.
However, the former Scotland boss believes the enforced lay-off has given him an opportunity to assess and work with his squad and believes they are much improved.
Brown, who succeeded Mark McGhee at Pittodrie, said: "We're champing at the bit to get into action. It's given us a lot more time to meet the guys and get to know them.
"There's a noticeable difference, without doubt, from the first couple of sessions to now. They're getting to know our methods and even in a simple thing like possession, I see a lot better work with the ball and confidence on the ball.
"There's no doubt there's a great attitude, a great application to their work. If they carry that work ethic into the match we'll be very difficult to beat."