Manager Adam Murray has challenged Junior Daniel to win himself a Mansfield Town contract for next season.
The former Stags star has returned on loan from Port Vale for the rest of the season.
Out of contract in the summer and not expecting to be offered another at Vale Park, Daniel knows this is a golden chance and boss Murray said: “It’s up to him in terms of his performances in the 12 games left.
“But I honestly believe in Junior. The good thing for me is that I played with him so I know what he brings. I know, as a midfielder, he gives you a great outlet.
“He is strong, he is quick and he’s got a physical presence. You look at some of the pace we’ve got in the team at the minute and it’s frightening.
“I do believe at this level he can be effective. He needs to get himself up to speed really quickly. He could be a really good plus point but it’s on his toes to perform.”
It was a losing return for Daniel as Stags succumbed 1-0 on a dreadful sandy surface at Newport last Saturday.
But Murray said: “It was a tough one as Junior had not played for four weeks, so he needed that match environment and match tempo to get him going.
“It was horrific on that pitch. I think our best passing sequence was about three – I hated watching it.
“But he will give us a spark. He will give us something different than what we’ve got. He’ll give us balance.
“Junior can play up top, he can play left wing, he can play the No.10 – he is another option going forward and I am confident he will produce for us in the 12 games.
“We’ve got some good options up there now.”
With Daniel’s return, competition on the wings has hotted up.
“Reggie Lambe missed out on Saturday,” said Murray. “He is one of my favourite players – I love Reggie. I think he does a lot.
“His link-up play and his brain are brilliant. But he’s not got a sniff recently because the boys have been performing.
“That’s the way it goes. Junior adds to that competition.”