Hull City manager Phil Brown has warned Nick Barmby he must stay fit if he is to be rewarded with a new contract at the end of the season.
Barmby's current deal expires in June and he has yet to be offered fresh terms by the club.
The 34-year-old's career has been plagued by injuries and this season has been no different.
The former England international has seen fitness problems restrict him to just five appearances this campaign but Barmby can draw encouragement from the fact that when he is ready for action his manager tends to pick him.
Barmby started for the first time since the opening day against Stoke City on Saturday and Brown has challenged the former Liverpool man to stay fit and in his plans.
He told the Hull Mail: "People have got to play games to get in my mind with regards to a new contract.
"Nick is not a foolish man, he is a very intelligent lad, so he'll know that as well as anybody.
"He knew he needed to get out of the treatment room as quickly as he possibly could and he knew that he had to put a shift in on the training ground on a daily basis.
"That gets him in the team and that will be key to him getting a new contract."
Barmby joined his home-town club in July 2004 and has helped them achieve promotion from League One to the Premier League, and his boss is full of admiration.
He added: "He is like a young boy who just wants to play, he is like Peter Pan. He gets out on the training ground and he is always the bright bubbly one.
"He is a top of the ground player. Even if it's knee deep in mud, he'll be floating on top of the ground.
"He has got a flighty, sharp style of play and he is always one step ahead. He knows where the next pass is going quicker than anyone else.
"That kind of brilliance, and that is all you can call it, is something that is needed at this club."