Nicky Shorey is keeping his fingers crossed Aston Villa defender Wilfred Bouma will return to full fitness even though it will increase competition for his left-back role.
Bouma missed the whole of last season after suffering a dislocated ankle during an Intertoto Cup clash with BK Odense at Villa Park in late July.
Shorey said: "One of the reasons I came here is that a club like Villa is going to have competition for places.
"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 experienced a rollercoaster first season at Villa following his Â£5 million move from Reading.
He was a first-team regular until November but then was left out of the Premier League side for four months and only started in cup matches before earning a recall.
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."
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