Midfielder Frank Ross has set his sights on emulating Connor McLennan by making next season his breakthrough campaign.
The product of the Dons youth academy is rated highly at Pittodrie but missed the majority of the last campaign with a back injury.
Ross, who has been with the club since under-10 level, is encouraged by the progress being made by his youth-team colleagues and hopes he can emulate their success by making an impression at first-team level.
He said: I have played with Connor since we were eight years old so I have always known how good he is.
“I have said for years he is one of the best young players around. It has been good to see the likes of Connor, Bruce Anderson and Dean Campbell get their chances.
“You’re pleased for them but it’s frustrating when you’re out injured.
“I’m only 21 so hopefully that’s me next season. I have plenty of time left.”
Ross, who has signed a new one-year deal with the possibility of a further 12-month extension, is eager to kick-start his career with the Dons following his lengthy lay-off and intends on showing his worth.
He added: “Last season was frustrating with injury. It has been the hardest time of my career.
“I hurt my back when I was away with the under-21s last season so hopefully when I get back I can work my way into the squad again and hopefully further down the line I can get into the full squad. I am glad it’s dealt with now and I am just looking forward to next season now.
“I was only fit for about four games last season so I just can’t wait to be playing again and appreciating football.
“I have been given a programme to get myself fit over the summer and the plan is to hit the ground running in Cork.”