Nicky Clark has warned new Dundee United striker Marc McNulty he will not give up his shirt without a fight.
Scotland international McNulty was a deadline-day loan arrival from Reading and is in contention for a debut when United host Aberdeen in Saturday’s ‘New Firm’ derby.
Terrors fans are licking their lips in anticipation of seeing McNulty – last capped 18 months ago – and current national team squad member Lawrence Shankland lining up together.
But Clark does not want to be counted out of the equation just three months after finally fulfilling his ambition of a Premiership return.
The 29-year-old started his career with the Dons but was released without playing a top-flight game and has had to fight for a second chance among the big boys during spells at Peterhead, Queen of the South, Rangers and Dunfermline.
But having proved he is more than capable with his contribution of three goals in 10 appearances so far for Micky Mellon’s Premiership new boys, he is not ready to let McNulty take away a starting slot he has had to earn the hard way.
He said: “Sparky is obviously a great player has got himself a couple of caps like Lawrence, so it’s great to have those kind of boys around the club.
“You need competition for places at big clubs but it’s down to me to keep scoring goals and to continue working hard in training if I want to stay in the team.
“It’s great to be back in the top flight, as it’s where everyone wants to play.
“We’ve come up a level and everybody needs to raise their game but you’ve seen the club doing their bit with signings like Marc and Jeando Fuchs.
“It’s good to see international players like that joining the squad and it shows the ambition of the club. This club should be a top six team every year and that’s where we want to be.
“Games like Saturday’s against Aberdeen are the games that I want to play in and I want to prove I’m capable of dealing with the best teams in the country.
“I’m looking forward to every match and it’s been great to score a few goals so far. I want to get more.
“I’ve worked really hard to get back to this level. The years I spent in the Championship was good but I always wanted to get back to the top league and play against the top clubs, so now that I’ve eventually got here I’m not just going to let it slip and give that chance away.
“I just need to keep scoring goals and show the manager I want to be in his team every week.”