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Fulham defender John Pantsil admits he has found it difficult not being a regular starter in the side this season.

The Ghana international has failed to hold down a regular spot in the team since the arrival of Mark Hughes as manager in the summer.

Pantsil made his first appearance since September in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham after coming on as a replacement for the injured Carlos Salcido midway through the first half.

The former West Ham man, who was given a tremendous ovation from the home fans, impressed after coming off the bench and he is now hoping for a regular run in the starting XI.

“The fans’ reaction meant a lot to me and they gave me the confidence and motivation to do well,” Pantsil said. “It was a special moment for me, because it had been a while since I had played.

“It has been difficult, that I cannot deny. I’m no different to any other professional, you always want to be playing in games and helping your team out on the pitch.

“But I’m not the type of player to ever complain about the situation – I just get my head down and make sure that I am ready when needed.

“Whoever has played in front of me has always had my support. This is a team game, and of course, there is always going to be competition for places. That shows that we have a strong squad, but I will keep working hard and hopefully my chance will come again.”

Pantsil added: “All in all, I was pleased with my performance and I have to say it was good to be involved again. Having played on Saturday, of course, I would like to be involved further. But we will have to wait and see. There are a lot of games coming up, and the Christmas period is always a chance to pick up points.”