Loan signing Dominic Ball wants Aberdeen to carry on where they left off going into the new season.
Ball, 22, has returned to Pittodrie for a second season on loan from parent club Rotherham United.
The versatile Englishman, who turned out at right-back and centre-back for the Dons last term, was instrumental in defensive midfield as Derek McInnes’ men went undefeated in last term’s Premiership post-split games.
Ball said: “I’m delighted to be back and ready to go for the season.
“One of the big decisions for me was to go where I knew everyone so I could hit the ground running straight away.
“We really enjoyed our end to the season and we want to carry on that level of performance and winning mentality we all had as a group of players and if we can carry on where we left off we’ll be in good nick.
“I’ve kept in touch with most of the lads and it was nice to be added back into the group yesterday.”
McInnes added: “I’m delighted to welcome Dom back. He showed exactly what he is capable of in the latter part of the league campaign when he played a vital role in our post-split games, during which we were undefeated.”
Ball made his Reds debut against Hearts at Murrayfield, coming in on the right side of defence for suspended Shay Logan.
His minutes on the pitch increased towards the end of last season, and with him in front of the back four, Aberdeen only conceded one goal in five post-split games – against Rangers at Pittodrie.
One of those games was a 1-0 win over champions Celtic at Parkhead.
Ball, who made 19 appearances last term, may not have long to wait for the first start of his second spell – as English Championship West Bromwich Albion visit Pittodrie tomorrow night.
The game is the Reds’ final pre-season friendly before they welcome Premier League Burnley for the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie a week today.
Ball, who started his career at Tottenham Hotspur and has also had loan spells at Cambridge United, Rangers, and after signing for Rotherham in 2016, Peterborough United, thinks a fast Dons start can set the tone for the new campaign.
After the two Burnley games, which could see Aberdeen take a step closer to the lucrative Europa League group stage, they open their Premiership campaign against the Gers at home on August 5.
Ball said: “Burnley play in the Premiership and it is going to be a tough challenge but we will try to get the win.
“The first three games are tough but there will be tough games all season and if we can get out there flying it can set us up for the season.
“It is important we still have the core of the team which won those games to secure second place and we know what is required.”
Meanwhile, one member of the Dons squad who looks set to exit before the start of the competitive matches is striker Adam Rooney.
Rooney, 30, has been offered £4,000 a week by English National League side Salford City, with the move now imminent.
The fifth-tier team, who are bankrolled by members of Manchester United’s Class of 92, Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, as well as billionaire Peter Lim, will have to pay a fee for the Irishman, who has two years left on his Pittodrie contract.
However, Rooney, who has netted 88 goals since signing in January 2014, had been expected to complete his move to Graham Alexander’s team yesterday.
He found himself on the bench for parts of last term as McInnes used Stevie May and Sam Cosgrove upfront instead.