Callum Morris hopes to get the nod to be a leader now that Jarek Fojut is heading back to Poland.
The Dundee United duo instantly clicked as a central defensive pairing when they lined up for their first competitive match together at Pittodrie on the opening day of last season.
United’s eye-catching 3-0 opening day victory over Aberdeen was built on the foundation laid by Fojut and Morris and a feature of that game was the number of times the big Pole leapt in the air to nod the ball to safety.
It would go on to become a familiar sight when the Tangerines played and, ahead of today’s Ladbrokes Premiership fixture list announcement, the Englishman conceded Fojut’s absence will mean more headers for him when the new campaign that kicks off on August 1.
“Our first game together was the win up at Aberdeen on the opening day of the season and we seemed to click from then on,” said Morris.
“Jarek had come in later for pre-season because he had been in Norway and, with Conor Townsend also coming in, it was a pretty new back four.
“However, we gelled really quickly and the results at the start of the season were really good.
“I enjoyed playing alongside Jarek because I didn’t have to head anything!
“That was a good thing because I didn’t mess my hair up.
“Seriously, though, he was a big, strong and commanding defender and you all saw how he played last season.
“So if he does end up moving on it will be a big miss.
“We will see what happens with that situation and I’m not sure how that will turn out.
“But I am sure that whoever comes in to fill the void will step up to the mark.
“Indeed, I am getting older now and, having had a season up in the Premiership, I would like to think that I can step up and take more of a leadership role within the squad.”
Morris was at Tannadice yesterday along with teammates Scott Fraser and Paul Dixon to model the club’s new white and black away strip.
The players will officially return to pre-season training on July 1 and Morris is determined to put last season’s troubles behind him when he does.
“It usually is a short summer nowadays,” he said.
“You get your holiday out of the way and then your mind is right back on the start of the new season.
“The way the game is now you really have to do a pre- pre-season because you really need to be fit and ready for coming back.
“So I am looking forward to getting back in and seeing all the lads again.
“There wasn’t any running on the beach for me but I did get away to the USA and then spent time in Newcastle before coming back up to Scotland.
“My personal goal is to get through the season injury free,” added Morris, who was dogged by a thigh problem.
“If I can get back in the starting 11 again and have most games under my belt then that will be great for me.
“Injuries plagued much of my season and I missed some big games.
“That is behind me now, though, and hopefully I can enjoy next season and stay fit.
“Part of what I was doing in the summer was related to achieving that.
“I have done a lot of work with what happened last season injury-wise in mind. I have done a lot of strengthening and a bit of injury prevention stuff.
“I have had a programme from the physio (Jeff Clarke) as well as one for fitness. I have cracked on with that stuff and have been feeling good.”