Speedy striker Trent Buhagiar craves a starting spot for Sydney FC after a match-winning cameo off the bench in the first game of the restarted A-League.
Coming off the bench, the Gosford-born 22-year-old showed extreme pace and great composure to break the deadlock and bag a brace of late goals to secure a 3-1 win for Sydney over Wellington at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Friday.
Sydney only need one point from their last five games to win a record fourth Premier's Plate.
All 13 of Buhagiar's A-League appearances this season have come from the bench, with his only start being a goalscoring performance in an Asian Champions League game.
With proven goalscorers Adam Le Fondre and Kosta Barbarouses as Sydney's established starting forwards, Buhagiar knows he has his work cut out to crack the run-on side.
"We picked up Kosta, he's a quality player and Alfie (Le Fondre) is obviously quality as well, so I'm going to have to fight for my spot in this team," Buhagiar told AAP.
"It's always going to be hard for me to get a place in the starting team.
"But my job is just to perform when I get on the field, and when I get those minutes off the bench (to) do as much as I can, and then hopefully can do enough to get in that starting team."
With games coming thick and fast in a compressed schedule, Sydney coach Steve Corica has indicated he will rotate his side, which could offer Buhagiar some starting opportunities.
He earmarked Buhagiar for a starting spot at the beginning of last season, but that plan was scuppered after the forward suffered an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in a training march in October 2018.
Buhagiar missed the entire 2019-20 A-League season after scoring four goals in as many FFA Cup games following his move from Central Coast.
"I don't know how good of a season I could have had, you never know but it's just how life is sometimes," Buhagiar said.
He didn't lose any pace as a result of the knee reconstruction, but Corica stressed Buhagiar had more to offer than just speed.
"He's got a lot of potential, we believe in him a lot," Corica said.
"There's more to him than his pace and he will keep improving."
Sydney's next game is at home to Newcastle on Tuesday, with Corica reporting no injuries out of Friday's match.