Patient Hartlepool United midfielder Josh Laurent is determined not to let his grip on a first-team spot slip.
The youngster has had to bide his time to get a run in the Pools starting XI.
I’ve been praying for this for a long time. It has finally come for meJosh Laurent
But in recent weeks manager Craig Hignett has handed the former QPR youngster his chance to shine.
And against Mansfield on Saturday Laurent grasped that opportunity with both hands, putting in a composed display just off frontman Billy Paynter.
Laurent, who is again in line to start this weekend at table-toppers Plymouth Argyle, admits it was tough being on the fringes of the Pools team.
But now the door has been opened for him, he’s keen to establish himself as a mainstay in Hignett’s United side.
“I’ve been asking for this and praying for this for a long time. It has finally come for me,” he said.
“The gaffer has put his trust in me. And I hope to repay that.
“He has told me to keep patient, that I’m doing well and it’s going to come.
“Finally I’ve got my chance and I’m just trying to take it week by week.
“I want to do my best for the team and try to keep my place.
“I will always do my best for the team and hopefully that is good enough to get the three points.”
Competition for places is intense at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium this season.
And Laurent knows he’ll have to be on his toes to keep his spot in the team.
“It’s crazy,” he said.
“The gaffer called us in at the start of the season and said we’d all been fantastic and that midfield is gong to be hard to pick.
“He said that we shouldn’t let our heads go down and keep going, saying there might be times when you are not in the team but chances would come.
“He trusts us that when we have a chance we’ll take it. I think that’s been proven recently.”
While many a fan was waxing lyrical about Laurent’s show at the weekend, the midfielder himself is his own harshest critic.
Instead of picking out the mature display, which was full of energy and craft, he pointed towards the missed chances, the most obvious of which was a header just six minutes from the close of Saturday’s stalemate.
He said: “I was disappointed not to score.
“I got there with a header but I feel I could have done more to get there.
“I’ve been growing my hair just for those kind of chances there.”