Rotherham United striker Jamie Proctor knows he is in a catch-22 situation as he tries to get back to the top of his game.
Proctor has made a successful comeback from the serious knee injury which wiped out his 2017-18 campaign, but he has found it difficult to get regular action.
He has been behind Michael Smith in the pecking order, something he has no complaints about, and has made just one league start and even then he came off at half-time.
His role has been to come off the bench, something he did successfully against Sheffield United last month when he scored a last-gasp equalising goal.
The 26-year-old, who was handed a long-term contract by boss Paul Warne earlier this season, knows he cannot get back to his best until he starts playing games, but cannot start games until he is back to his best.
“Naturally, you're going to be a little bit frustrated, especially after being out for so long last season with the injury,” Proctor said.
“You have to take it steady and build up your fitness, but you also have to be playing games so you're fully match-fit. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that.
“It's not through the lack of trying. It's just that Smudge (Smith) has been playing really well and the lads, more often than not, have put in good performances.”
Proctor is prepared to be patient to get his chance and is happy for Smith, who signed a new contract on the same day as his fellow striker.
He insists there is no jealousy or devious intentions within the squad.
“I understand the gaffer can't really change the team around too much,” he added.
“You just have to stick with it, be patient and hope that your chance comes.
“The lads are all good mates. No-one sits on the bench thinking, ‘I want us to lose this.’ We are all rooting for each other.
“If that means you play a part, fantastic. If not, you move on to the next game.”