Mansfield Town have thrown the gauntlet down to Jake Kean to clinch a contract for the rest of the season.
With regular keeper Bobby Olejnik out for the rest of the season, free agent Kean was rushed into the squad last weekend for his second spell with the club.
It is an unexpected chance for a player who trained with Stags in the summer after his release from Sheffield Wednesday but left again after seeing he had little chance of forcing his way in with Olejnik and Conrad Logan ahead of him.
However, things have now changed dramatically and boss David Flitcroft said: “I said to him it’s really important that you’re fighting for your football life, so come in and give it absolutely everything you’ve got. Then we will see where that goes.
“He certainly has pedigree. I am massive on how someone settles into a group and settles into an environment.
“You have to be careful when you get a good environment that you then only bring good characters in. I think Jake is that and I want to see that over that period.
“Jake came in at the start of the season to train with us. But, because we have two fantastic goalies at the club, he knew he wasn’t going to feature.”
He continued: “Other clubs have given him the opportunity to train with them and he was actually training at Barnsley when we made the call.
“We asked him to get across here and we’d do something for the first month – it was the quickest contract we could get him on to line him up for the Forest Green game.
“We didn’t want to go into that game without a reserve keeper. So we have covered ourselves for this period and it’s given us some real thinking time.”