Heffernan: We're full of confidence
Hibernian were portrayed in some quarters as a club in crisis early this season but Paul Heffernan has found a squad full of confidence since arriving from Kilmarnock.
Hibs lost their first four games of the season, which included a 7-0 home defeat by Malmo, but had secured their first Scottish Premiership win of the campaign against Kilmarnock when Heffernan moved from Rugby Park just before the transfer deadline.
Pat Fenlon's side have since lost just once and last weekend's 1-1 draw with Celtic has set them up for an intriguing top-six clash with Aberdeen at Easter Road.
Heffernan has been an integral part of that form with three goals in his first five starts and the striker is revelling in his new challenge.
"When I first came in, you would never think the team was under pressure," the Irishman said.
"They were just after beating Kilmarnock the week before and they were full of confidence. They were bubbly, the training was good and they seemed like they were really enjoying themselves.
"I think that's rubbed off. We have managed to get a few good results and the place is full of confidence.
"I have loved it since I came here, it's been great. The lads made me feel very welcome from the moment I came through the door.
"I have been enjoying the training and managed to get a couple of goals and the team has been winning games as well so it's going very well."
Heffernan is looking to sign out in style as he will miss Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final against Hearts because he played for Kilmarnock in the second round.
"I'm obviously disappointed to be missing the cup game, it's going to be a great atmosphere and it's a big Edinburgh derby but there will be plenty more and I'm just looking to the game on Saturday and getting three points."
Defender Michael Nelson will miss the clash after suffering an eye socket injury against Celtic, but Ryan McGivern has shaken off the knock that forced him off against the champions.
There is good news as Jordon Forster has recovered from a groin injury to provide additional cover at centre-back.
Alan Maybury (thigh) and Sam Stanton (hip) are set to return to training early next week while Tim Clancy (groin) and Alex Harris (ankle) are progressing well in their recoveries.
Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson believes the match will be a good test of their early-season progress.
The defender has been happy with his side's start to the campaign, which sees them in fourth place in the Scottish Premiership before a trip to Easter Road completes their first round of fixtures.
But Hibs are looking to leapfrog the Dons on Saturday after putting together a good run of form which has seen them lose just once in nine games.
The last four meetings between the teams have only seen two goals with one win for each side and Anderson knows Saturday will be a major test of their top-six aspirations.
The former Scotland international said: "The games were close affairs last season so it will be interesting to see how they have evolved since last season. Most of the games are usually tight against Hibs.
"We've done well in spells but I think there is still work to be done. In general we have to be satisfied with how the first quarter has gone.
"We know there are areas we can always improve on and we'll be looking to do that as the season progresses.
"It's going to be another very difficult game on Saturday. They drew with Celtic last week which will give them plenty of confidence going in to this game.
"Their form recently has been very good so we know it will be a tough test."
The Dons beat Dundee United 1-0 last week with Willo Flood back after a hamstring injury and Barry Robson coming off the bench following a 10-week lay-off with a knee injury.
And Derek McInnes is ready to throw Ryan Jack straight back into action despite admitting the Scotland Under-21 star was suffering from fatigue.
Midfielder Jack had played every minute for the Dons this season until he was replaced late on in last Saturday's 1-0 win over Dundee United suffering cramp in both hamstrings. However, McInnes says the player is ready to resume action after offering him a couple of days rest.
The only other absentees for Aberdeen are Chris Clark and Josh Magennis, both of whom are still recovering from knee injuries.