Dons boss Derek McInnes today confirmed signing centre-back Tommie Hoban could be an option when he returns from his injury nightmare.
Hoban is set to be ruled out for up to nine months having sustained cruciate ligament damage in the recent 2-2 draw with St Mirren at Pittodrie.
On loan from Watford, the 25-year-old will undergo surgery and then his parent club will oversee his rehabilitation.
That rehab will extend far beyond the summer when Hoban’s contract with the Premier League outfit expires.
The fresh injury was another cruel blow to a player who has been dogged by misfortune in recent seasons.
Hoban has only recently returned from five months out following surgery on a dislocated shoulder sustained early in his loan spell at Pittodrie.
He missed the whole of last season following surgery to cruciate ligament damage – thankfully not to the knee injured against St Mirren. The only minor positive to take from two years of crushing setbacks.
So impressed had McInnes been with Hoban he was considering moving for the defender when he became a free agent this summer.
The time-frame may have changed but that is all. McInnes is convinced Hoban has the determination and willpower to recover from this latest blow.
And when he does, signing on at Aberdeen will be offered to him as an option.
McInnes said: “We will be here for Tommie when he comes back from this injury.
“We would give him every support to come back and play if that was his choice.
“I don’t know what Tommie’s plans are or what Watford’s plans are for him. But Tommie is certainly someone we have enjoyed working with.
“Although we haven’t had him fully fit for a long period of time he has certainly impressed us all with how dedicated he is and with his performances on the pitch and in training.
“Tommie will go and get the operation and Watford will pick it up from there.
“However, there will always be a place for him once he’s back up and running if there’s an option to do so.”
In an emotional message on social media, Hoban admitted he was struggling to come to terms with a second cruciate injury in less than two years.
McInnes is “heart sorry” for the defender and at the injustice of another injury to a player who puts so much into his career only to suffer setback after setback.
The manager said: “Good things should happen to good people, especially someone as committed as Tommie.
“I have come across a lot of boys while a player and as a manager where you need to question their commitment, how much they want it and if they take it for granted sometimes.
“Then you have a boy like Tommie who absolutely dedicates himself to being a footballer and lives his life right.
“He is in the gym an hour before we are set to train just getting himself ready to go out and work.
“He trains at a high standard every day and gets everything from it.
“These are the boys you feel heart sorry for the most. Tommie could not do any more, which is why it is particularly galling he has now picked up another serious injury.”
Hoban sustained the injury when his studs appeared to catch in the pitch and he fell awkwardly, twisting his knee.
It was only his ninth appearance for the Dons.
McInnes said: “Tommie is a good player and we were fortunate to get him in the first place.
“This is the knee he has never had any bother with.
“If it had been the same knee that he had problems with then there would maybe be that wee bit of understanding.
“But for him to then get that same injury on the other knee is just really difficult for Tommie to accept.
“He has been strong enough to get through it before.
“Tommie has shown he is a good player and shown a high level of performance and that is on the back of injuries.
“Unfortunately he has not really got a good run at it.
“It is how good he could be if he can go and get that run. Hopefully he will come back from this injury and show everyone.”
Watford boss Javi Gracia has confirmed the Premier League club will fully support Hoban through his recovery from the knee injury.
Gracia said: “I’m very sorry for Tommie because he is a very good professional with a great attitude.
“Now it’s a very difficult moment for him, but we will be here to try to help him.”