Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee has told Davide Grassi to pull his socks up if he wants to land a new deal.
Grassi, 24, has slipped down the pecking order at Pittodrie following a string of below-par performances.
The arrival of Jim Paterson on loan from Plymouth has hardly helped as the Italian bids to land a new contract with the Scottish side.
Paterson, though, is unavailable for Saturday's clash with Hearts, giving Grassi an ideal opportunity to prove his worth.
"Davide's chances of being awarded a new contract stalled a little in recent weeks," McGhee told the Daily Record.
"He lost a bit of form which is why he hasn't been involved.
"But if we didn't think he had a chance of winning a longer deal we wouldn't have taken him to Pittodrie in the first place.
"He's back by default and it's up to him to prove he is worth keeping in the team."
One thing working in Grassi's favour is the likelihood that Paterson will not stay beyond his current loan deal.
"I've already admitted we don't think we'll be able to afford keeping Paterson beyond the summer," said McGhee.
"There is also the chance Charlie Mulgrew will leave as well because he hasn't agreed a new deal yet.
"We will probably need to sign another left-back and if Davide wants it to be him he must get back to the form of a few weeks ago."