Terry McFlynn will have to wait at least another week before he can reclaim his starting spot at Sydney FC, but manager Ian Crook believes the A-League veteran's time will come sooner rather than later.
The club captain was relegated to the bench in last weekend's 1-0 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers and will again miss out on a starting role in Sunday's ANZ Stadium fixture against Perth Glory.
But Crook admitted it had been a tough to exclude McFlynn in favour of an Ali Abbas-Paul Reid midfield, but he doesn't see it as a permanent demotion for the 31-year-old.
"Look obviously he's a player and he wants to play," Crook said on Friday.
"But the difficult thing for me, and it's something I'm not going to make excuses for, being the coach you've got 22 players and you can only pick 11 of them.
"It's 11 you're going to have happy each week and 11 that are not going to be happy with you.
"He keeps working hard. He has been doing work. He'll fight his way back in."
McFlynn trained as part of the 'opposition' team during the Sky Blues' session on Friday, before staying back to do extra agility work.
One of those ahead of him in the current pecking order, 33-year-old Reid, believes competition for midfield spots will be cut-throat all season.
Reid, who only signed with Sydney one week before the start of the season, said he had high hopes for his burgeoning combination with Abbas but knew just one poor performance could mean the axe.
"The thing with Sydney this season is our midfield is very strong," he said.
"You can't rest on your laurels. If you don't perform one week you might be out the next."