The former Celtic youngster impressed in his maiden campaign for Jackie McNamara's side last time out and did enough to convince the Firhill boss he was worthy of an extension to his deal for the new term.
A sixth-place finish was not representative of Thistle's on-field exploits last season and, after seeing Hugh Murray, Sean Welsh, Steven Lawless and Aaron Muirhead come in this summer, O'Donnell is confident the Jags have what it takes to haul themselves into title contention.
He said: "I think a lot of us have learned from last season.
"We have almost the same squad and that will be an advantage for us. We did well last year but there were a few games where, if we had got better results, it would have made a big difference.
"This year, I certainly think we can be up there because we have the players to finish higher up the league.
"I think we have players good enough to win the league, but we know it will be difficult.
"It is fine talking about it, but now we need to go and try and do it on the pitch. There are a few teams that have got a chance and hopefully we can be one of them."
Last season proved to be a useful learning curve for many at Firhill, with McNamara taking his first steps into management and a number of young players starring on a weekly basis in Scotland's second tier.
Inconsistency plagued Thistle throughout the campaign, however, with impressive performances left unrewarded as their form fluctuated on a week-to-week basis.
That will have to be wiped from their game if the Firhill side are to rise from mid-table stability to challenge for promotion to the Scottish Premier League in the coming months.
And O'Donnell reckons the signs are promising for the Jags as McNamara and his squad prepare for another shot at First Division glory.
He said: "Every manager would love to have big money to spend, but the gaffer had to work within a tight budget last season.
"It was my first season in the team and he was great with me. I think he did a great job last time out.
"I know there were some fans that were unhappy, but the league was really close all season and we certainly have something to build on.
"He can't help the fact that the players were inconsistent, but we will improve after that experience.
"We have brought in some good players so far who will hopefully improve the team and help us turn those draws into wins.
"If he could lead us to promotion then it would be a terrific achievement. I have got a lot of respect for him and love working under him."