Dons boss Derek McInnes admits he is excited about the partnership of Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin next season.
Centre-back Devlin is set to make his long-awaited Dons debut when the pre-season friendlies begin against Cobh Ramblers, in County Cork, Republic of Ireland, on Saturday June 30 (2pm).
Devlin, 24, signed a three-and-a-half year deal in January from Hamilton. However, the former Accies skipper has yet to feature for the Reds as he was recuperating from a long-term knee injury when he signed on at Pittodrie that ruled him out for all of last season.
He is set to link up in a centre-back partnership with McKenna, 21, who recently captained Scotland in a 1-0 friendly loss to Mexico at the Azteca stadium.
McInnes said: “Having Devlin and McKenna at the back together is exciting for me.
“On top of that we also have Joe Lewis behind them as well.”
Devlin has been sidelined since suffering a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament at Hamilton in the final game of the 2016-17 season.
Aberdeen opted to sign the centre-back in the January transfer window so he could continue his recuperation with the Pittodrie medical staff.
Devlin will be fit and ready for action when the Reds return for pre-season training on Friday June 22.
Aberdeen will jet out to the Republic of Ireland at the end of the month for a training camp in Cork.
Opponents Ramblers play in the SSE Airtricity League First Division and are already 16 games into their season
“The important thing with Mikey was making sure he is ready for pre-season,” added McInnes.
“Obviously it is a bit more difficult for him because when you come to a new club you just want to go in and make that impression on the pitch.
“But we knew when we signed him he wasn’t going to be able to make that contribution right away. In terms of settling in at the club, though, he has done great.”
McKenna and Devlin are set to be the centre-back pairing for next season. Icelandic centre-back Kari Arnason, 35, set to play in the World Cup, left Pittodrie at the end of the season when his contract expired.
Versatile centre-back/ midfielder Anthony O’Connor is set to move to the English lower leagues as his contract has expired and despite talks a new deal was not agreed.
Centre-back Mark Reynolds made only six Premiership starts last season, with 19 appearances in total.
Devlin could have been pitched into action in the post-split games last season if there had been a defensive emergency but McInnes was happy to retain focus on a pre-season debut unless situations dictated otherwise.
He said: “It would have been a bit unfair for Mikey to come straight into high-profile post-split games on the back of being out for such a long time.
“However, sometimes being fair doesn’t come into it as you never know – you could pick up injuries or suspensions. So he could have been catapulted into it.
“The ideal situation was that we would not have to play Mikey and he could complete his rehab properly without the added pressure of playing in the final games of the season.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen have re-signed seven rising stars on new contracts to be part of the new SPFL Reserve League next season. Signing new deals are goalkeeper David Craddock, defenders Sam Roscoe and Ryan Harrington, midfielders Miko Virtanen and Chris Antoniazzi along with strikers Connor McLennan and David Dangana.
Defenders Joe MacPherson and Toby Wells were released from the Development squad.
Reserve team coach Paul Sheerin said: “The aim of the new set-up is to get the boys in playing with more experienced and senior players.
“Hopefully that will help their development. It may give an opportunity for younger players to go out on loan that probably aren’t playing as much as they’d like.
“All the boys need to come back in pre-season bursting with energy and enthusiasm.”