Nicky Shorey is hoping Aston Villa team-mate Wilfred Bouma will be fit to provide competition for the left-back role next season.
Bouma suffered a dislocated ankle in an Intertoto Cup tie against Odense in July last year which ruled him out for the majority of the campaign.
He encountered a further setback when returning for the reserves late in the season, but is expected to be ready for the start of the new term.
Though the Dutchman will be a direct rival for a place in Martin
O'Neill's starting line-up, Shorey is eager to see Bouma back in a Villa shirt.
"One of the reasons I came here is that a club like Villa is going to have competition for places," said Shorey.
"I was as gutted as anyone when Freddy (Bouma) didn't come back as quickly as we all hoped. We hope he'll be back for pre-season fighting fit.
"I think everyone wants to see that and I'm no different. He's a great lad Freddy. I've come in here and he's made me feel welcome, which is nice.
"When you're fighting for positions, whoever gets the nod, you've just got to back them fully with your support and hopefully you'll get a chance further down the line."
Shorey endured a frustrating first season at Villa Park after his arrival from Reading, but is determined to use the experience to improve as a player.
He said: "My own season was ups and downs, but not the way I would have wanted it to go.
"That's the way it goes in football, and in life sometimes, and you just try and take those experiences on board and try and make yourself stronger."