Sam Allardyce says David Rozehnal and Steven Taylor will need to fight their way back into the first-team picture at Newcastle.
The duo started the season as the first-choice central defensive partnership, but now the pair are kicking their heels on the sidelines.
Monday's win against Tottenham saw Claudio Cacapa and Abdoulaye Faye start, and they performed admirably against the likes of Robbie Keane, Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov.
Now Allardyce looks unlikely to make any wholesale changes ahead of their game at Reading this weekend.
"David Rozehnal has done nothing wrong at all, and Steven Taylor hasn't done much wrong either and he didn't get on the subs bench," said Allardyce.
"That's a measure of what I've been trying to get in terms of the squad. Keeping them all fit has been a problem, but once they are all fit then it's going to be a battle to get in the team or on the subs bench - and I think that's really healthy.
"It's going to frustrate and upset a few players, but if we're winning games - and that's happening - they have to accept it.
"When a player gets in the team, he has to fight to keep the shirt. That grows the spirit and culture of the club, and it increases the desire to get the shirt and not lose it. That's what a manager's really looking for."