UTILITY man Chris Baird has warned John Pantsil he has a battle on his hands for the right-back berth.
The Fulham defender has been sidelined since the turn of the year with a knee injury, but is expected to return in the next month.
But Baird has filled the void, helping the Whites to an eight-game unbeaten streak.
And he has told his team-mate he won't give up the shirt without a fight.
"The shirt's mine to lose," he said. "It will be interesting to see what happens when John's back.
"The more good things that go right for me and the team, then it's up to the manager if he wants to change it.
"I feel like I've taken my chance, in midfield as well as right-back. The manager needed cover here and knows I can play anywhere."
Baird had a nightmare spell in the same position under former boss Lawrie Sanchez when he moved to Craven Cottage two-and-a-half years ago.
He looked to be surplus to requirements under Roy Hodgson , but the Northern Irishman has turned around his fortunes.
He added: I'm playing well, and am confident, which I wasn't under Sanchez.
"That put me down a bit, and that's why I wasn't playing as well. I'm just delighted to be getting the opportunity, and taking it."