Dean Lyness is determined to make the most of a rare run out on Saturday and earn a new deal at St Mirren.
The Saints stopper was thrust into first-team action for the Buddies for the first time in two years on Tuesday night when Jak Alnwick was sent off against Hibernian.
With the Buddies number one now suspended for this weekend’s visit of Kilmarnock, former Burton and Blackpool keeper Lyness will be back in goal.
The 29-year-old has already held talks about extending his stay in Paisley beyond his current contract, which expires this summer, and he knows a decent display could seal the negotiations with boss Jim Goodwin.
Lyness – who is in his second spell with the club after spending a brief stint with Saints at the tail end of 2018 – said: “My contract is up at the end of the season. We’ve spoken about it and hopefully it will get sorted.
“Any time you get on the pitch you are representing the club, your family and yourself and you want to do yourself proud.
“The club gave me a great opportunity to come back here and I need to produce the performances that will help me stay.”
However, Lyness is unlikely to get too many more chances to show his capabilities unless Alnwick comes a cropper. Goodwin reckons Rangers ace Allan McGregor is the only Premiership keeper currently in better form than his first-choice pick.
But Lyness is determined to push his fellow Englishman all the way for a starting slot.
“I was thrown in at the deep end a little bit on Tuesday night but that’s what I’ve been preparing for since I came back to the club,” he said.
“You have to make sure you’re in the best possible shape for when the opportunity arises.
“It looks like I might have another one this weekend so hopefully I can take my chance to stake my claim.
“Hopefully I can help the boys get three points and give the manager a decision to make.
“Jak Alnwick has been absolutely outstanding. He’s been so consistent all season, he’s not put a foot wrong.
“We have a great relationship. If we’re training well then hopefully that brings out the best in him as well.
“That’s how it works in football, you need to make sure you are pushing him all the way.
“He’s been working his socks off so I can’t have any complaints when he’s putting in performances each week.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some top keepers. Vaclav Hladky – last season – was outstanding.
“But all I can do is watch these guys and try to improve my game.”
Saints were unable to make it a hat-trick of impressive results as they followed up last week’s mauling of Dundee United and a first win at Celtic Park in 31 years by slumping to a 2-1 defeat to Hibs.
“It was disappointing not to take anything from the game,” added Lyness. “I thought we were excellent when it was 11 versus 11 and were the team on top.
“We were disappointed the other night but we stay level headed and there were a lot of positives. It’s just motivation to bounce back on Saturday.
“We had a fantastic week leading up to the Hibs game but we’ll take the hit and go again.
“It’s possibly the best squad I’ve seen here. We’ve been on a heck of a run and any time we’ve got beaten there’s been changes made to the team.
“Boys come in and step up. That’s what you need if you want to have success.”