It was a bitter-sweet outing for Tomasz Kuszczak against West Ham last night as the scramble to get in Manchester United’s goal turns into a crush.
With Ben Foster fit again and Edwin van der Sar showing no sign of relinquishing his status as United number one despite celebrating his 38th birthday this week, Kuszczak knows his opportunities to impress are going to be limited.
So, having been drafted into Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up for Wednesday’s encounter with West Ham at Old Trafford, the Poland international might have hoped to be more than a virtual bystander in a cruise for the home side.
"It is not easy when you have nothing to do," reflected Kuszczak.
"But that is how it is for a goalkeeper. You have to try hard to keep your concentration for 90 minutes. You need to do your job properly and keep a clean sheet. This is most important thing for a goalkeeper and of course very important for the team as well.
"It was a big day for me because I have not played for a few weeks. I hope I get another chance soon. Saturday? Why not?"
In truth, Van der Sar is almost certain to get his place back for the weekend visit of Hull.
Ferguson has pencilled Foster in to play at Celtic next Wednesday, with the League Cup tie with QPR six days later offering another opportunity for one of Van der Sar’s deputies.
"We have to manage the situation with Edwin because he is 38 now. At that age, we don’t need him to play every game because we have two very capable goalkeepers in Tomasz and Ben. Having Ben fit again is an enormous boost because he is an outstanding goalkeeper," said Ferguson.
Foster has already proved his talent in two spells at Watford, so it is hardly a surprise Harry Redknapp should be thinking about getting him to Tottenham.
However, such a move would be tantamount to an admission of failure by Ferguson, which appears unlikely at this stage.
It is a delicate balancing act for the Scot, who handed Kuszczak a two-year contract extension last month that will keep him at United until 2012, especially as Van der Sar remains hungry as ever.
"The hunger is still there to win as many trophies as possible," said the keeper.
"You know when you come to a club like this you will be challenging for trophies and we have been lucky enough to win a few over the last few years."