Evening Express

Dons signing Tommie Hoban ready to play if required

Tommie Hobban during training

On-loan defender Tommie Hoban today insisted he is fit and ready to face Burnley after putting a year of injury hell behind him.

Centre-back Hoban joined the Dons on a season-long loan from Premier League Watford before last night’s UEFA 11pm transfer deadline.

The 24-year-old has fully recovered from a knee injury that wiped out last season having ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in training during pre-season last summer.

Having had a full pre-season with Watford this summer he is ready to make an impact at Aberdeen – against the Clarets if needed.

He said: “I had a bit of bad luck but I am over that now and fit and hoping this is the start of kick-starting my career.

“Being at a big club like Aberdeen is the perfect place for me to do that.

“Burnley is something I am ready for and excited about.

“It is a big game and the kind of things you train for and live for as a footballer.

“I have played against Burnley a few times. They had a fantastic season so it will be a tough game, but everyone is looking forward to it and I am sure we will do well.

“I am looking forward to the Burnley game and can’t wait to get cracking.”

Hoban made his debut for the Hornets at just 16 years old and made 58 starts for the club.

English top-flight giants Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were all linked with a potential move for the defender four years ago.

He spent the 2016-17 season on loan with Blackburn Rovers and wants a regular start with Aberdeen.

Hoban said: “I am delighted to be somewhere where I feel I am wanted and valued.

“Things started very well as I played quite a lot of games when I was young.

“However, the last three years have been difficult with injuries.

“That can be tough mentally and there have been some difficult moments, especially in the last year.

“It definitely makes you stronger and you have to be to come through it .

“A lot of boys don’t come out the other side of these sorts of injuries.

“I feel strong physically and mentally and my experiences have hopefully made me into a better player.”

Dons boss Derek McInnes was in the market for a right-sided defender and Hoban fits that bill.

However, he revealed he can play anywhere in defence.

He said: “I am a classic defender and love to keep clean sheets.

“I am right footed and can play anywhere across the back four – left-back, right-back, as I am an out-and-out defender.”