STEVEN Reid is hoping his first Barclays Premier League start of the season at Chelsea on Saturday will kick-start a run in Steve Clarke’s first XI.
The 32-year-old struggled with a series of niggling injuries during the start of the season and has since watched Billy Jones hold down the right-back spot with a string of impressive performances.
A hamstring injury forced Jones out of the Stamford Bridge encounter to give Reid his chance – and, with fierce competition for places in the squad, he admits the pressure is on to cement his place in the team.
“Physically I feel good,” said Reid.
“It was nice to get a start on Saturday.
“It was unfortunate for Billy that he got injured, but I felt good.
“I’ve been keeping myself right for the last few weeks to be ready when called upon and I felt I did a decent job on Saturday, and will hopefully get a run of games together now.
“The squad is massive at the moment and we’ve got good lads who are not even travelling at the moment – international players who are not even managing to get into the squad.
“It’s good to have that competition where everyone is pushing each other forward and hopefully myself and Billy can do that in good spirits.
“He’s been first class this season, and all of last season as well, so if we can have good competition in the squad it can only be good for us going forward.”
Reid also enjoyed playing in a team driven on by the attacking combination of Saturday’s goalscorers Shane Long and Stephane Sessegnon.
And he hopes the former’s first strike of the season will now open the floodgates.
“Shane has shown the desire he goes out with every weekend,” he added.
“In every game he goes out with that desire and he’s got a great spring to leap and attack it like he did.
“He deserved it because he was a real nuisance all afternoon for Cahill and Terry and hopefully that will give him the confidence to have a good season now he’s off the mark.
“Stephane’s been a great signing so far.
“He knows the Premier League and that’s why we brought him in.
“He has been performing for the last couple of years like that.
“He’s a real pest in training and he is always looking to turn and drive forward.
“He did that on Saturday, especially in the second half, and he popped up with a crucial goal.”