MANAGER Paul Warne says that Ben Purrington still has a future at Rotherham United but like others must prove he is worth a regular place in the team.
The left-back's career at the AESSEAL New York Stadium has failed to ignite since signing from Plymouth Argyle for a substantial fee last Janaury.
An injury earlier in the season, and then the consistently strong form of Joe Mattock, has combined to keep the younger man out of the side. He has also missed out on matchday squads.
With Mattock sidelined with a hamstring problem, Purrington was handed a rare start against Charlton on Easter Monday, his first appearance since September, and there could be an opportunity for another against Fleetwood tomorrow.
The chance is there for Purrington, still only 21, to make his mark but Warne believes that to do so he needs to better the displays that his rival for the shirt has been turning in.
Speaking in his exclusive Advertiser column this week, Warne says: "Ben has big shoes to fill because Joe has been in amazing form.
"I have virtually two players for every position and Joe Mattock has had the shirt since Ben got injured at Blackburn and has been one of our most outstanding performers this year. Unfortunately for Ben, he has been behind him.
Richie Towell...back in contention.
"I see Ben's future at this club but his performances have to be greater than Joe's in order to get in the team. He's no different to anybody else in that regard.
"If Caolan Lavery is playing better than David Ball then he gets in in front of him, it's the same with Ben and Joe."
Added Warne: "Considering Ben hadn't played since September, he did pretty well at Charlton.
"Obviously he tightened up towards the end and that's why I took him off. Ben can play better but so could a few others on the day."
After four defeats in the last six, including a return of only one point from six over Easter, Rotherham will consider making changes tomorrow.
Richie Towell is back available from a hamstring injury and Caolan Lavery has been pressing for a start.
Despite their dip in form, the Millers remain fourth, five points above seventh place and still well placed to land a play-off place with six games to go.
Added Warne: "At this time of the year there are no easy games for any club. You can look at all the fixtures again this weekend and not guess any score with confidence, every match is a potential banana skin for some reason or another.
"The lads are in good fettle and we'll try and bounce back."
Catch today's Advertiser for much more from Paul Warne and the Millers camp...and don't forget to keep tabs on our Live Matchday Blog throughout tomorrow afternoon.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.