Everton's John Heitinga is concerned further injuries could stretch their already threadbare squad to breaking point.
Seamus Coleman became the latest Toffees player to succumb to injury after he suffered a reoccurrence of his thigh problem in Saturday's win over Tamworth in the FA Cup.
The former Republic of Ireland Under 21 international now joins Phil Jagielka, Leon Osman, Tim Cahill and Tony Hibbert on an expanding injury list.
And Dutch international Heitinga now wants the fringe players who come in to prove that they are more than able deputies.
"Everyone needs to stay fit now, we can't afford more injuries," he told the Liverpool Echo.
"We don't have a big squad and we're struggling with these injuries. Hopefully the lads who come in can do it and replace the players who are injured."
Heitinga's versatility has allowed boss David Moyes to use his abrasive tackling qualities in midfield to cover for injured team-mates in recent weeks and he is prepared to continue in that role for as long as required.
"Centre-half is my best position but the manager knows I can play in midfield," he added.
"[Marouane] Fellaini was injured and Jack Rodwell was out so that's why the manager asked me to play as a holding midfielder. Jack's injured again so we have to move people around to get 11 on the pitch."