ANTHONY LLOYD is playing with a passion at the moment.
Stunned and hurt to be left out against Brentford a fortnight ago, the strong-running wing-back is determined to prove he's worth a regular place.
He started with a man of the match performance on his return against Stockport in the FA Cup last weekend and is now aiming to hold off the challenge of fit-again Rob Edwards and the versatile Tony Carss.
"I want to play regularly after chalking up 40 appearances last season, it's as simple as that," said Lloyd, who was a play-off winning hero at Cardiff last May.
"Coming into this season I thought I would be in the team but, after our pre-season training and matches, the gaffer gave the shirt to Rob and he did well up until getting injured.
"When my chance came I was determined to make the most of it and I enjoyed having another run in the team so, when I was left out against Brentford, I was very disappointed.
"I just tried to keep my head up on the training ground, worked hard and scored another goal in the Reserves and, when Carssy was injured last week, the gaffer told me on the Friday that I'd be playing if he didn't get back.
"I just got myself prepared in the proper way and, when the gaffer told me I was playing, I was determined to prove a point.
"I'm always keen to do my best, but I was raring to go against Stockport and I am so keen to keep the shirt.
"I want to play week in and week out and, at 20, I think I should be aiming to do that.
"Playing every week is the aim because I want to go higher and I want to help take this club higher.
"The more games I play, the more comfortable and composed I will become and I want to do well for the team."
Frustrated at not getting a chance at the start of the season, Lloyd played nine straight games when Edwards suffered his hamstring injury against Barnsley two months ago.
Manager Peter Jackson opted to re-unite Danny Schofield with Chris Brandon and Jon Worthington in midfield against Brentford, which gave him the option of switching left-sided Carss to wing-back, where he featured on a few occasions last season. Jackson took that option, leaving Lloyd out in the cold until he scored with a fine, curling right-foot shot in the 5-0 demolition of Notts County Reserves at Meadow Lane.
Lloyd maintained his focus, too, while Carss was undergoing treatment for a back injury which eventually ruled him out at Edgeley Park.
Lloyd might have scored on two early raids against Sammy McIlroy's side and, on one occasion, tried to replicate his curler from Meadow Lane.
He also found plenty of space down the left but was, more than once, ignored by his teammates as they tried to prise a breakthrough.
"I thought we started the match really well and controlled the second half, but Stockport hit us with three sloppy goals to concede," he explained.
"Their strikers were quite quick to deal with which made them dangerous on the break and then a couple of set pieces went against us, which is always annoying.
"I didn't really have anyone directly up against me because their right winger was tucking in a lot, so I was determined just to get back in the swing of things and, after not playing the previous week, show that I was up to the job.
"My main aim was to get forward as much as I could and supply as many good crosses as I could get in.
"I hoped I might make a goal or even score one, because things kept opening up for us, and I thought I did pretty well, even though we had to wait until the last minute to get on the scoresheet.
"It would have been great to have gone through to earn another tie for the supporters and to bring in a bit of cash for the club, but it wasn't our day and we have to just put that behind us.
"Everyone was very disappointed, but the target now has to be to make sure we bounce back with a good run in the League. Having missed out on a Cup run, it's more important now to be certain we get in the play-offs and, if possible, go for automatic promotion.
"We are well placed already and the squad are determined, so hopefully I can be a part of another successful spell."
TOWN Reserves are at home to Lincoln on Wednesday (2.00) in the Pontin's Divison I East.