Date: 2nd August 2007 at 5:23pm
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Ricky Foster reckons he`s the man who can stop Barry Robson, who impressed non other than Thierry Henry when they faced each other recently, and any other right winger this season but he admits his job as Dons left back will be made all the harder with the absence of Russell Anderson.

Foster made the wingback role his own last season after injuries and loss of form ruled out both Richie Byrne and Dan Smith respectively and his lightning bombs forward gave the team a new dimension as well as his ability to thunder long range efforts into the net which brought a new, spectacularly effective threat.

He signed a new contract on his 22nd birthday on Monday which will make him a Dons player until 2010 at least if it`s fulfilled but it`s a new deal that may never have happened had he continued playing up front where he spent his years in the Dons reserves and his first tentative matches in the SPL as Ricky himself states he`s enjoying life more as stopper of goals than a scorer of them.

‘It’s always hard for a young striker to break through with the added pressure of having to score.

‘I did enjoy playing up there but would be too hard on myself if I didn’t score.

‘Now I feel more suited to playing in a deeper role using my pace breaking forward.’ He said to Reds Online.

‘I wasn’t physically strong enough to cope with the demands of the SPL.

‘That’s why I have worked hard to build myself up and came back fitter than ever for the start of pre-season training last year.

‘Now I want to build on the progress I have made.

‘I played left-back for the majority of the season and Russell Anderson was normally the left centre-back.

‘He made it a lot easier for me as he was always talking to me. Russell is the type of player who fills you with confidence and there’s no doubt he helped my performances.’

Without Russell to rely on can Ricky continue his progress and form that has had him mentioned in relation to moves down south as well as interesting the national camp?

He`ll now have the experience of Jackie McNamara to call on but he may well be the player who keeps Foster out of the side although it is expected that the ex-Wolves star will occupy the right back berth. However, he will certainly face competition from a resurgent Dan Smith, Andy Considine and Lee Mair who can all comfortably play on that flank.

So can Foster keep his place in the side? He was much praised by Jimmy Calderwood for his performances last season and he must take some heart from the fact he is the first player to have been approached about extending his contract.

No doubt Russell was a big influence to the young Foster but with having had a good couple of seasons under his belt now as a first team regular, Fosters reliability and versatility mean he should be a crucial part of the team wherever he plays for Aberdeen next season and that means fans can look forward to some exciting link up play with new signing Jeffrey De Visscher and hopefully some more long range thunderbolts from the 5`9″ Aberdonian.