Cardiff City midfielder Riccardo Scimeca has praised team-mates Stephen McPhail and Gavin Rae for the 'terrific' job they have done in his absence.
The 32-year-old has not featured in the league since March after suffering a groin injury against Sunderland and, despite making a comeback for the reserves recently, another injury is set to keep him sidelined for a further month.
During his absence Cardiff's regular central pairing has been McPhail and Rae, with the two having formed a formidable partnership.
Scimeca - an experienced campaigner having played in the Premiership with four different clubs - has spoken of his admiration for his team-mates and admitted he will have to work extra hard to regain his place in the side.
He told the South Wales Echo: "Stephen and Gavin have done a terrific job and I know I face a fight to get back in. But that's exactly what we need - players battling to earn their place.
"Our downfall last season when we promised so much and failed to deliver was because we did not have enough competition for places. Now that's changed. There is a lot of strength in depth and there are options.
"When I am ready to play first team football again I will initially provide another option - and we will see how things develop."