A season in the shadows has spurred Zach Elbouzedi on to show what he is capable of at Caley Thistle.
The 20-year-old Irishman missed a lot of last season to a knee injury and struggled to force his way into a side that finished the season on a high.
The former West Brom youngster has started this pre-season injury-free and has featured prominently in friendlies against Highland League opposition.
Caley Thistle fans have not seen what he is capable of during his 12 months in the Highlands so far and that is something the Ireland youth international wants to put right.
Elbouzedi said: “It was tough last year. It was my first serious injury and I found it difficult to come back from.
“Mentally, I had to come straight back in at it was hard. I’ve done a lot of work in the off-season and hopefully I can come in and show the fans more what I can do this season.
“When you don’t have pre- season you’re playing catch-up. I feel fit and strong and hopefully I can stay injury-free.
“When I came back in it was the start of the unbeaten run we went on so there wasn’t many chances. It’s hard to get match fitness as it was difficult getting friendlies through a bad patch of weather.
“All that stuff balled up into one and your confidence goes. This feels like a fresh start because I didn’t get a chance to show what I can do.
“I’m a bit of an unknown quantity. The other teams haven’t really seen what I can do so hopefully I can be a big player this season and get us promoted, back where the club should be.”
There is a confidence in Elbouzedi that Caley Thistle should be among the promotion contenders again.
He said: “It’s a small squad but we’ve kept a good core of players.
“We had a good run at the end of the season and I got a few substitute appearances.
“Hopefully I can get a few starts under my belt, get a few wins and goals and the sky is the limit for what we can do. We haven’t really spoken about it but we can definitely challenge.
“We’ve got Ross County and Partick coming down, then us, Dundee United and Dunfermline.
“They’re big clubs that are used to being in the Premiership so it’s definitely going to be interesting.”