Julio Arca is eager to impress in the remaining games of the season as he bids to earn a new deal with Middlesbrough.
The versatile Argentine is out of contract in the summer and is willing to take a pay cut to extend his association with the Riverside outfit.
And the former Sunderland player, who returned in the vital win over Watford after three games out with a knee injury, is aware that he needs to remain in the first-team reckoning to persuade manager Tony Mowbray to offer him fresh terms with Boro.
Arca told the Evening Gazette: "I feel good now and I am looking forward to the last nine games.
"It is a very important time for me in my career. I hope I can play in most of the games and I hope that I play well.
"I would like to stay at Middlesbrough, so I have to continue to play well and show the manager what I can do.
"I know that I will have to take a pay cut if I am staying. But I will have to see what happens in the summer."
Mowbray and assistant Mark Venus were impressed with Arca's display against the Hornets despite the 30-year-old going into the game with just two days of training under his belt.
Arca believes he can still contribute for up to another five years and would welcome the opportunity to remain with Middlesbrough, although he understands the final decision rests with Boro's management.
He added: "It was good to read what the manager said. There is a lot of competition for places so it was good to come back into the team.
"The manager's philosophy about how the game should be played is the same as my philosophy.
"But I know that what happens in the summer will depend on a lot of things. I have enjoyed every minute of my time at Middlesbrough. I have no regrets.
"I want to have the chance to stay. If not I must be ready to move on. That's football. I am enjoying my football as much as ever. I believe that I can play on for another four or five years.
"I have lived in the North East for 11 years and it is a second home to me. But I am prepared for whatever happens and I will respect the manager for whatever decision he has to make."