It is easier to break into Fort Knox than the Dundee United first team at the moment after the Tangerines’ perfect start to the league season.
However, Tannadice assistant boss Gordon Forrest has paid tribute to the rest of the squad for keeping the starting line-up on their toes and providing intense competition for places.
The players who were on the bench last Friday night against Dundee also showed they are more than ready to play their part when called on with subs Ian Harkes and Cammy Smith scoring two of the second-half goals in the 6-2 thrashing.
And Forrest admits it is fantastic for the management to have those options at their disposal.
He said: “Guys who haven’t been playing have been fantastic when they come off the bench.
“Nicky Clark has been starting but came off the bench and was excellent against Dundee while Cammy Smith came on, scored and had another chance, Ian Harkes also came on and performed so it is great.
“They have to keep that hunger and desire, those levels up.
“They have been working really hard and deserve to play but it has been difficult because the other lads have been performing to a high level.
“We need players pushing each other and we need the competition for places.
“We have the trust in the players that we can stick them in there and they can do a job.
“It is fantastic for a management staff to have these kind of options.”
Forrest also admitted that the players who have not been playing have still played a vital role in supporting the ones who are and no matter who is selected against Arbroath in the Challenge Cup tomorrow at Tannadice will do a good job.
He added: “They are a good group, get on well together and support each other whether they are playing or not.
“That is a big part of winning week by week and winning championships.
“Credit to the players, they have bought into that.
“It makes our job so much easier when you have that.
“Again, no matter what team goes out at the weekend, whoever comes in will do a good job.
“If they are not playing, they will support the guys. That culture is there but we have to keep pushing it.”