Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is banking on a smaller squad making the Dons competitive.
Limited summer recruitment – Jonny Hayes looks set to be the only signing – means the Dons will plough ahead with their current set of players for the new campaign.
Aberdeen have a first-team squad that has remained consistent over the summer, with only Greg Leigh and Jon Gallagher departing as they returned to parent clubs NAC Breda and Atlanta United.
They should also have Craig Bryson, Scott Wright and Scott McKenna back at full-strength after injury problems last season, while Curtis Main and Matty Kennedy have sustained knocks since training has resumed.
Younger players such as Dean Campbell and Connor McLennan will have an additional year’s experience under their belt while midfielders Miko Virtanen and Ethan Ross return after promising loan spells in the Championship.
McInnes said: “We’ve got a good squad and if we get a good crack at it with injuries this season, that extra year of development for the younger ones – outwith Hamilton I think we were the club that used the most under-23s last season. A lot of that was through the amount of injuries we had.
“But sometimes it’s good that you’ve managed to get so many of them on to the pitch. We’ve now got that core of young players who we hope can force their way in, along with the more experienced players we have. If we can keep them fit, we can be as competitive as we want to be.
“I still think there’ll be a few clubs that can maybe still be active and deal with the situation. But there’ll be a load of clubs as well who’ll turn to blooding a few more youngsters at the back end of the squad. I think the majority of teams will probably work with a tighter group this year and we’ll be the same.
“As long as you get a fair crack with injuries, working with a tighter group there’s nothing with at all. You can get so many benefits from that as well.”
The only first-team player that was out of contract was backup goalkeeper Tomas Cerny, who penned a one-year extension to his stay at Pittodrie.
Danny Rogers and Frank Ross, who had only featured intermittently for the first-team after graduating from the youth setup, were let go at the end of their contracts.