Bob Harris wants to make the left-back spot his own at Blackpool FC, even if Stephen Crainey does sign a new deal.
The consistent form of Crainey means the 25-year-old Scot has managed only 15 appearances since crossing the border from Queen of the South two years ago.
But as pre-season training began yesterday, Harris found himself to be the only left-back at the club as Crainey is out of contract and still in talks over a new Bloomfield Road deal.
But whatever happens with Seasiders stalwart Crainey, Harris wants to be first choice for the coming season.
He said: “As it stands, Crains hasn’t signed a new deal yet.
“But it doesn’t really matter whether he’s here or not, I’m looking to play in more game this season.
“If Stephen doesn’t sign, then there’s no doubt they will want to bring in another left- back anyway because the manager wants competition for places.
“I just want to keep working hard and hopefully this can be the season I get my chance.
“I went on loan to Rotherham last season and played six games. That gave me a taste for first-team football.
“I want to break into the team early on this season. If not, I’d like to go out on loan again and get some games.”
Having reported in yesterday, the Pool squad fly out to Portugal tomorrow for a week- long training camp.
Out-of-contract trio Kirk Broadfoot, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Crainey were not present yesterday.
Goalkeeper Matt Gilks and the newly re-signed Barry Ferguson did not train either but will link up with the rest of the squad tomorrow.
The only other absentee was Tom Ince, who has been given an extended rest after playing for England U21 in the European Championships in Israel.
Harris added: “It’s good to be back training. I was bored without football, so I have been itching to get back and the first day was great.
“We had six weeks off and it’s been too long.
“I went away for two weeks right at the start of the summer and since then I’ve been waiting to get back.
“I’ve worked hard over the summer to keep a base of fitness.
“I’ve kept myself ticking over, so it wasn’t too bad.”
The full Pool squad are set to be accompanied to Portugal by three trial players.
It’s the third year running the Seasiders have travelled to the continent for summer training and it’s something they clearly enjoy.
Harris added: “It’s great to go to Portugal. The weather over there is great.
“We usually have two or three training sessions a day, so it will get all the lads up to full strength and fitness.
“All the lads are looking forward to getting away.”