PHIL SENIOR aims to prove he's worth a new Town contract by helping clinch promotion this season.
The homegrown 23-year-old has started eight straight League I matches since ousting Paul Rachubka from the side.
Not only that, he has starred with some stunning saves in two of the last three, strengthening his hold on the first-team jersey and his claims on an extended deal.
Senior's form at the moment is ample evidence of how he's matured into the most specialised position in the game.
He's producing the top shot-stopping form which has been his forte since he was first packed off to the National Soccer School and, in the process, he's rising above the criticism which always surrounds his size.
At one time Senior - who is listed at 5ft 11in - allowed himself to get upset by the verbal snipers.
Not any more - he just lets his performances speak for themselves.
"My form is coming along thanks to having a good run of games - that's what gives you the confidence," said Senior, who is Town through and through.
"I'm pleased with how it's going, although I'd obviously be a lot happier if we were winning games.
"It does make a big difference when you play a string of matches, especially as a keeper.
"You get to know your defenders again and develop an understanding and it helps you to produce your best form.
"With being out of the team earlier in the season and with my contract up in the summer, it was vital for me to get into the team, to play well and to get that confidence so that I can go into the end of the season with a strong claim for a new contract.
"With that in my mind, it's enjoyable playing at the moment and I really do think we've got a good chance of winning promotion.
"From my own point of view, I just want to prove I'm able to do the business in this division.
"I know there are a lot of doubters, but that's football.
"I know I can do it here and I'm sure a lot of other people do as well. The main priority for me is to go out and play well, keep as many clean sheets as I can and everything else that comes after that is fine."
On the critics, Senior is happy to put them out of his mind.
"It used to bother me when people had a go, but I don't care about it any more," he said.
"People will have their own opinions and they are entitled to them.
"I'm a bit older and wiser now than I used to be and I just believe in my own ability and get on with the job.
"I got a lot of confidence when I played that string of matches when Mick Wadsworth was here, even though we finished up going down, and it's the same with the gaffer now. He always has something to say and it gives you a lot of confidence when you know the manager is right behind you."
Senior, who earned England Youth caps at Lilleshall, enjoys training with Rachubka and sticks with a routine he first adopted under former keeping coach Dave Watson.
"It was good working with Dave at the start of my career and I've taken a lot on from that," he explained.
"Dave wasn't the biggest keeper but he went right to the top in the Premiership and did well, so he set a great example to follow.
"We always got on well, too, and I've always done the things he drummed into me, working hard in the gym and on the training ground.
"Lee Martin is constantly a big help to me as well.
"He talks and gives advice and, from someone who had such a long career in the game and who is very wise about keeping, that's a big bonus."
So, with nine games to go, can Town replicate the form of a year ago and muster enough points to go up?
"We've got a good chance in a decent run-in," he said.
"We haven't got all the big teams to play and we've got a few of the lower ones, so the opportunity is there.
"What you find in this League, though, is that every game is tough because people are either fighting for promotion or battling to stave off the threat of relegation.
"It's such a close division that there's very little between the teams - we just have to make sure we get out of the blocks quicker than our opposition on any given Saturday.
"The lads are still looking for automatic promotion - you can never cross that off - but we've got to start keeping more clean sheets and to start winning again, that's the main thing really."
Senior expects another tough test from Rotherham today, having watched a fiercely- contested 1-1 draw between the sides from the bench at Millmoor on Boxing Day.
"Rotherham came at us really hard that day and we now have to turn the tables on them at home," he said.
"I felt we should have won down there, but we ended up scraping a point in stoppage time and we have to be ready to battle for everything once again."
So are talks about a new contract pencilled in for the near future?
"I've been to speak to the gaffer and he's pleased with the way I'm playing," said Senior.
"That's the main thing at the moment and we'll take things from here.
"There are nine games left to keep proving myself and, hopefully, I'll be able to show I'm worth a new contract."