James Tomkins is ready to seize his West Ham chance with two hands if he fills in for James Collins against Middlesbrough on Wednesday.
Collins injured a hamstring in the defeat by Bolton at the weekend and Tomkins is the favourite to step up to the plate at The Riverside.
The teenager believes it is a shame Collins will miss out against Boro, although he is looking to make the most of his chance if he gets the nod from manager Gianfranco Zola.
"Obviously 'Ginge' (Collins) has been doing very well when he has been playing but maybe there is going to be a chance for me," said Tomkins.
"You obviously feel for the lad and hope he's not going to be out for too long because he's been doing really well for us.
Got to take it
"If I get my chance I've got to take it, but no place is guaranteed at the moment."
The Hammers lost at Bolton, with Tomkins determined to give the club a boost with a cup win.
"In the dressing room everyone was down but we've got to pick ourselves up again quickly because we've got this game," he said.
"We have to look back at it quickly, look at the errors that we made and obviously carry on from there because we've got a big game coming up."