Peterhead manager Jim McInally says Aaron Norris has a big future at the club after extending his contract.
The Blue Toon midfielder has penned a deal to keep him at Balmoor until the summer of 2020.
It is now expected the 20-year-old, pictured, will go on loan to the Highland League until January to get regular game time.
Norris joined Peterhead in November after being released by Aberdeen in the summer of 2017.
His time at Pittodrie was mired by persistent groin problems, which was eventually diagnosed as osteitis pubis.
A double groin operation prior to joining the Blue Toon meant he was able to get himself up to full fitness.
After making 11 appearances last term Norris impressed boss McInally in pre-season.
But despite featuring 11 times this term, only three of those appearances have been starts.
McInally believes Norris has a big future with Peterhead, but it has been difficult to give him regular action with midfield competition from the likes of Simon Ferry, Scott Brown, Jack Leitch, Ryan Dow and Willie Gibson.
McInally said: “I see him as part of the future at Peterhead and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. But for his own progress he needs to burn his energy when he’s got it by playing games.
“If he is able to do that in the Highland League it will be good for him because it’s a tough league.
“He’s got himself in fantastic condition and I don’t want him to lose the fitness he has got by just making sub appearances for us.
“Although, we can’t probably afford to lose him for our bench. I just think he would benefit from getting games in the short-term.
“It’s good he’s a local boy as well, but that’s not why he’s here, he’s here on merit.
“He’ll be one of the few players that will be under contract next year and that’s how highly we think of him.
“But it’s about getting him games in the next few months.
“With bringing Ryan Dow in it’s put him down the pecking order because he was coming on before that.
“It’s difficult for him with the competition and if he was two years older you would say you just have to fight for your place.
“But he is still at the developing stage and he won’t learn it by not playing, so between now and January we want him to fight for his place in a Highland League team and that is good for his development.”