Aiden McGeady says he has no issues with having to prove he is worthy of a place in Jack Ross’s starting XI.
The 32-year-old is fit again after missing the pre-season programme through injury but faces strong competition from the likes of Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch.
McGeady has come off the bench in the last two fixtures, scoring his first goal of the season in the 3-0 win over Southend United on Saturday.
The Irishman says a period of getting up to speed is natural after such a long lay-off.
“I missed all pre-season, got myself to a stage where I could run, and basically went straight back into training,” he said.
“I didn’t really have a mini pre-season and I think the manager did it the right way, he thought I’d gain more from training with the team than running on your own.
“Then again, it’s not quite as simple as, ‘right, there’s you straight back in the team’.
“The lads have been playing well and there’s no guaranteed starters in this team.
“It’s down to me whenever I play to show the manager that I deserve to play.
“It’s been frustrating for me missing pre-season, because I’m watching the team playing well and I’m wanting to be part of it. But I’m getting there.
“We’ll see what happens, if I’m not starting, just coming on, I’m getting older now, I’m not the type to be asking the manager why I’m not playing. I’ll take it as it comes and do my best whenever I’m called upon.”
McGeady looks well set to make an impression under Jack Ross, who has favoured attacking football so far this season.
Indeed, McGeady’s introduction on Saturday was statement of intent in itself, Ross sacrificing midfielder Dylan McGeouch to try and capitalise on the extra space as Southend pushed to try and get back into the game.
The winger says it is ‘chalk and cheese’ from the first half of the year, when a 3-5-2 system often limited McGeady’s playing time.
“It’s definitely been chalk and cheese from last season,” he said.
“I remember playing games here last season, playing 3-5-2 at home, we go a goal down and it seems almost impossible to come back from that.
“That’s how I felt anyway and I think a lot of other people did as well.
“Now we’re tight at the back, but we’ve got a lot of different attacking players, a lot of variations with players who can play anywhere across the front.
“It’s a good headache for the manager to have.”
McGeady believes the Black Cats are starting to build momentum in their promotion push and is pleased to see them turning draws into wins.
“It was another good victory,” he said.
“The goal at the start of the season was to be up there, at the moment we’re just starting to build some momentum. We’re starting to turn those draws earlier in the season into victories.”