Warming Sheffield Wednesday’s substitutes bench and picking up a pay cheque every week is of little interest to Lewis Buxton.
Now fully-fit having recovered from a knee injury which hampered him throughout most of pre-season, the 30-year-old is determined to stay clear of the treatment room and is looking to dislodge Liam Palmer in the right-back berth.
Worksop-born Palmer scooped the Player of the Year award during the 2013/14 campaign and has been one of their consistent performers this time around.
Nonetheless, Buxton, who filled in at centre-back at Cardiff City, has warned Palmer he faces a battle for his spot.
He told The Star: “I want to play. I want us to win even when I don’t play. Liam came in when I was injured and has been brilliant.
“Liam is a good player. He could probably play anywhere and do well. I want to get back in the right-back spot and I would rather he played somewhere else!
“The manager is going to make those kind of decisions. I know if I don’t do well, he is going to put Liam back in and vice versa. That’s football. You just get on with it and try to do the best that you can in training every day and see what happens.”
Tonight Buxton is set to make his 200th appearance in Wednesday colours against Ipswich. He initially joined the club on loan in October 2008 before completing a permanent move to Hillsborough three months later.
When asked about the personal landmark, Buxton replied: “It’s a number. I will get on and enjoy my football and maybe look at that record after I’ve packed things in.
“I’m delighted to be back training and playing again. It was frustrating when I was injured but that’s behind me now and I want to kick on.”
Fewer and fewer players tend to reach that milestone in the modern game.
“There are a lot of changes that happen now and managers maybe don’t last as long as they used to,” said Buxton. “I’m happy to stay here as long as possible.
“I enjoy my football here. I have always felt that the club was not far away from doing something. It only takes a few things to fall into place and hopefully that will happen this season.”
Buxton, primarily a right-back, has experienced the pain of relegation, the ecstasy of promotion and featured in several battles to avoid the drop since joining the South Yorkshire outfit.
“It’s always been exciting,” he conceded. “Hopefully this season will be exciting for a more positive reason.
“If we can get a good feeling around the place like when we got promoted in 2012 with the fans really pushing the lads on, I really feel we can gain some momentum.”
Stuart Gray is the fifth person Buxton has worked under, with Brian Laws, Alan Irvine, Gary Megson and Dave Jones all having come and gone. So how does Gray compare?
Buxton said: “He is well organised down even down to throw ins. Nothing is left to chance. His man management is very good. He will always talk to people in and out of the team.
“Sometimes managers, if they are not happy with certain players or performances, can make some players outcasts. To me that creates a bad environment whereas Stuart is always talking to everyone on the same level so no one feels hard done by or is sulking.
“Everything has come together quite well and the work we have done on the training ground is paying off.”