Harlee Dean has vowed to win back his Brentford starting shirt or leave Griffin Park.
Dean moved past a century of appearances for the Bees during their promotion campaign last season, but has found himself the odd man out at the heart of the rear-guard this term with boss Mark Warburton preferring the duo of Tony Craig and James Tarkowski.
Craig’s red card in Saturday’s game with Birmingham allowed the 23-year-old to make a belated Championship bow and all but confirm himself as a starter in tomorrow’s Capital One Cup clash with neighbours Fulham.
In the wake of an impressive audition in the 1-1 draw, the straight talking defender revealed he felt he had been axed unfairly and had made clear to Warburton bench warming was not something he would tolerate long term.
Therefore he knows he has no alternative but to capitalise on Craig’s enforced absence.
He said: “I’m not the sort of player who is used to sitting on the bench and to be honest I won’t sit on the bench for a whole season, so I needed to show a good account of myself today and take my chance.
“I’ve got to grab hold of this opportunity now. I was probably going to play Tuesday anyway against Fulham so the sending off does not really make much difference, but at least I’ve got a Championship game under my belt.
“I wouldn’t be frustrated if I didn’t think I deserved to be playing. Towards the end of last season I was injured and I didn’t deserve to play, but after this pre-season and how hard I worked over the summer to get fit I feel I warrant a place.
"So it was a tough blow when I missed out the first game of the season and when I haven’t played since it has been frustrating because all I wanted to do was come here and play Championship football.”
After being starved of action so far in the campaign Dean is understandably chomping at the bit to heap more misery on Felix Magath’s struggling whites.
He recalled watching London derbies between his beloved West Ham and Millwall at Upton Park growing up where every big tackle made by the hosts was greeted with cheers from the Hammers’ faithful.
And he is determined to be the focus of those cheers from Bees’ fans tomorrow night.
He added: “I’m very much looking forward to Fulham and I can’t wait to leave a few tackles on someone.“Fulham are on a low, so hopefully we can pile a bit more misery on them. Our fans would love that so hopefully we can do it for them.”