Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has challenged Tommie Hoban to earn a long-term deal beyond January.
Former Watford defender Hoban signed a short-term contract at Pittodrie until the end of the year.
That deal came after Hoban proved his fitness following 18 months sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury.
Hoban suffered that knee injury whilst on loan with the Dons in February 2019 from then Premier League Watford.
Since signing the short-term Dons deal, the stopper has impressed when starting clean-sheet wins against St Johnstone and Hibs.
McInnes said: “Tommie is a player who we really believe in.
“The level of performance he has brought in an Aberdeen shirt, albeit limited due to injury, has always been high.
“There is a real warmth from everybody at the club towards Tommie – from team-mates, me as his manager, the board and I am pretty sure the supporters.
“We would all want nothing better than for Tommie to produce the performances we know he is capable of to extend his stay with us.
“I am sure if he can have a bit of luck on the injury front, I am sure that is something that could be looked at.
“But for now we are just delighted we have got him fit and back in the frame.”
A former Republic of Ireland U21 international, Hoban suffered the knee injury, which required surgery, in a 2-2 draw with St Mirren in February 2018.
It was the second serious knee injury for Hoban, who was ruled out for the previous season.
Thankfully the injury suffered at Aberdeen was to the other knee.
Such was his connection with the club, Hoban travelled up to Hampden during his rehabilitation in 2018 to watch Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final loss to Celtic.
He was then released by Watford in summer 2018 and McInnes offered the defender the option to continue his rehabilitation with Aberdeen.
That was out of a duty of care to the 25-year-old, as the injury was suffered while playing for the Reds.
Hoban was set to be offered a short-term deal in early March, having proved his fitness during a week training with the Dons.
He would have been secured as defensive back-up as Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna was ruled out for the rest of the 2019-20 campaign with a hamstring injury.
However, Scottish football was shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak just days before that deal was set to go through.
Finally Hoban has signed that deal, and starring for Aberdeen until January could open the way for that to be extended.
McInnes said: “Tommie is a player who deserves an opportunity.
“He is a player who has never hidden his admiration for the club and the area.
“His young family and wife have moved up here.”
Meanwhile, last season’s leading scorer Sam Cosgrove has taken another step forward in his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
Cosgrove, who netted 23 goals last season, suffered a fractured cartilage in a pre-season friendly with Hibs.
The striker is now out of his protective boot and McInnes hopes he can return in time for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic at Hampden on October 31.
McInnes said: “Sam is coming along well, he gets a scan next week to check everything is healing properly. He’s feeling good, he’s out of the boot and in the gym doing some work on the bike.
“He’s not running yet, but we are pretty confident with the way he’s feeling that the split in his cartilage is healing as was expected.
“It’s quite an unusual injury, but it’s one we got at the right time and it’s going in the right way.
“Once he’s had his scan, if we get the results we hope and expect to get then we’ll be able to increase his work.
“Sam is hopeful that he’s on track for what he thought. He’s thinking he’ll be back by the end of October.
“He has the semi-final in his mind, he thinks he’ll be fit for that.
“That’s what he’s aiming for and so far he’s coming along well.”