PIM Balkestein insists his Brentford career is far from over – and has told Bees fans he owes them some decent displays.
The Dutch defender was frozen out and told he has no future at Griffin Park by boss Uwe Rosler .
Upon returning from a loan spell at Rochdale, Balkestein was even forced to train with the development squad rather than the first team.
However, injuries to Marcel Eger and Karleigh Osborne meant the former Ipswich man was back on the bench as an unused for Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat at Colchester.
And despite not making it onto the pitch, being back in the fold is enough incentive for Balkestein to salvage his Brentford career.
He said: “Of course, I wasn't really happy with what happened. I was training with the development squad for quite a while, and it was a
relief to be back training with the first team again for the past few weeks.
“But I have been given an opportunity with the injuries to Marcel and Karleigh. We only have myself, Leon Legge and Harlee Dean as centre-backs now, so I have a real chance to fight for my place back and show what I can do once more.
“The manager has not really said anything more about my future, but if you work hard you get the rewards, and that is what I intend to do.”
Balkestein's fall from grace has been one of the most enduring mysteries at Griffin Park in recent times.
Having initially joined on loan from Ipswich two years ago, Balkestein formed a brilliant partnership with Legge which helped drag Brentford
out of relegation trouble, and Bees fans were delighted when he signed permanently the following summer.
But having spent most of that close-season chasing Balkestein around Europe, former Bees boss Andy Scott had bombed out his prize capture
within months, and since then the Dutchman has been a peripheral figure at the club.
He has yet to feature under Rosler, and despite making 15 loan appearances at Rochdale, the last time he wore the red and white stripes was almost a year ago, ironically against Rochdale, in April last year.
Balkestein added: “I think the pressure just got to me really. I was only 22 and was a big signing for the club. It's a different kind of pressure when you become a permanent signing from when you are on loan, when you have a lot more freedom, and I suffered a real dip in my confidence.
“But I still have a year left on my contract here and I don't want to go anywhere else. I want to stay and fight for my place as I feel I owe Brentford fans some good performances – they deserve a lot more from me.”