Scott Harrison knows he’s got a fight on his hands to keep his place in the Hartlepool United first team.
But the defender believes he can make himself undroppable in the eyes of boss Craig Hignett.
I know that if we keep clean sheets it will be very hard for the manager too kick me out of the teamScott Harrison
Harrison was part of the Pools backline that kept their first clean sheet of the season last week against Mansfield, with Harrison one of Pools’ stand out men on the day.
But the 23-year-old is under no illusions.
With Rob Jones and Matthew Bates, both of whom have been out with injury, close to a return, Harrison has competition breathing down his neck.
That doesn’t matter to the centre-back, though. He reckons that if he helps keep things tight again at Plymouth today he’ll make it difficult for Hignett to drop him.
“I know that if we keep clean sheets it will be very hard for the manager too kick me out of the team,” he said.
“It’s my job to make that hard for him.
“I know I have to keep working hard to stay in the team.
“I have that place now and I don’t want to give it away.
“Batesy and Rob are both good players and are on their way back so I know that I have to be on my toes.
“If I let my level of performance drop I know they are ready to step in and take my place.
“The only way I can prevent that happening is by playing well and helping the team keep clean sheets.
“Hopefully we can do that. We will see how it goes at Plymouth.”
Last week’s 0-0 home draw with Mansfield was obviously not ideal for Pools, especially as they dominated proceedings.
But it marked a turning point for Harrison and the Pools backline.
Just a few short weeks after capitulating at Stevenage, United kept their first clean sheet of the season.
“Obviously it was not the result we wanted overall but from a defensive perspective, privately, we were all delighted to finally keep that clean sheet,” said Harrison.
“I am quite happy about the way we played and defender but it was a mixed feeling too because of the way the game went in the end.
“It did feel like a long time coming.
“But now we have done it we need to make sure we build on that.
“Clean sheets and a few more wins will start to see us climb the table.”