RYAN Brobbel is glad that he will be selected or left out of York City's side only on merit during his second loan spell at Bootham Crescent.
The 21-year-old Middlesbrough winger scored three goals in 13 appearances for the Minstermen during a four-month stint before he headed back to the Riverside in January after seeing his chances limited by restrictions on the number of loan players who could be chosen in a matchday squad.
Brobbel only started two matches during November and December with City boss Nigel Worthington deciding to use the likes of Luke O'Neill, Ben Davies, Keith Lowe, Aaron McCarey and Elliott Whitehouse as his five permitted loan selections instead.
The Minstermen chief felt defensive reinforcements were a priority back then but, with Davies, Nick Pope and Will Hayhurst the only other loan signings at the club now, Brobbel's place in the side will only be subject to form, injury and tactical considerations.
It is a situation the Northern Ireland under-21 international welcomes, saying: "It was a bit hard last time because there were six or seven of us on loan but now it's all about how I perform. If the manager does drop me, it's all down to myself but, hopefully, I can stay in the team and help the club get into the play-offs."
Brobbel has also vowed to carry out the defensive work Worthington has insisted will be a condition of him maintaining his place in City's first XI this time around.
"I know what he expects of me and I know the team would not have got all the results they have had if they hadn't been working hard forward and back," the Hartlepool-born flank man added.
"The game is not all about strikers and you have to defend because the more clean sheets you keep the more chance you have of winning and I know what I need to do."
He does, nevertheless, feel a responsibility to hit the same heights he attained for the club during the early autumn months when a spectacular brace during a 4-1 success over Scunthorpe proved the highlight.
"There's a little bit more pressure because the first time I came here I was the new kid but, now, everybody has seen me before and knows what to expect," Brobbel reasoned. "But I really enjoyed my time here and, hopefully, I can help the club push on."
Since returning to the north-east at the turn of the year, Brobbel has only featured on Boro's first-team bench once in a Championship clash against Doncaster and his game time has been restricted to reserve fixtures.
He, therefore, regarded being thrown in from the start for his second City debut during Saturday's 0-0 home draw with Burton as a big vote of confidence, saying: "I trained with the club on Friday and then the gaffer told me I was going straight into the side. He told me to do what I can do and to just think about Scunthorpe, so he obviously trusts me."
Brobbel is out of contract at Middlesbrough this summer but a new deal has already been discussed.
Nevertheless, he is excited by the prospect of being part of the Minstermen's current play-off push, explaining: "When I went back to Middlesbrough, I got a few sniffs of the first team but didn't really get a chance to play.
"Obviously, here, I will also be playing in an environment where it's all about winning, which is good for me. After I left York before, I am not too sure if anybody else came in for me because I wanted to stay at Middlesbrough and work on getting a contract there but, when this chance came back up, it was a great opportunity and, if we can push on and get to Wembley, it would do so much for my career and, obviously, York as a club. I have been offered a contract at Middlesbrough and I just need to sort out some clauses and stuff.
"Hopefully, if I do well here, it will help me push on at Middlesbrough and help with my contract situation too."
Brobbel also confessed that he has been surprised by the upturn in the team's fortunes, having ended his first spell at Bootham Crescent three months ago with the club in the midst of a relegation dogfight.
On the remarkable improvement, Brobbel admitted: "I don't think anybody saw it happening, Looking at the way the results have gone, the lads have worked so hard over the last three months and they deserve to be where they are.
"Nobody expected York to be where they are at the beginning of the season so it's been brilliant really. When I first came, we were close to the bottom of the table.
"We weren't winning many games and only scoring here and there but there's more of a buzz now and the players are happy and confident they can win every game they go into."
Brobbel suggested, however, that Saturday's stalemate with Burton was the correct final outcome, saying: "It was a fair result going on chances.
"Both teams didn't want to give much away because of their situations fighting for play-off places and it would have been unfair if one team had lost."