Fulham defender Stephen Kelly insists he’s champing at the bit to be given the nod against West Brom at home tomorrow.
The Fulham full-back was a regular last campaign but has been a frustrated spectator so far this time around as summer signing Sascha Reither has started the season as first-choice right-back.
Kelly was given a rare outing in Ireland’s 4-1 friendly win against Oman at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night.
And with the Whites going into the clash against the Baggies after a run of back-to-back defeats, Kelly hopes he will be given the chance to stake his claim.
He said “It was good to get 90 minutes under my belt.
“I feel fit, that’s never really been a problem with me. I’m champing at the bit to get a game and the chance to show what I can do.
“It was extremely disappointing not to start the season as first-choice. I felt on the back end of last season and how I did in pre-season I would’ve been given an opportunity as I felt it was my place to lose.
“That wasn’t to be so all I can do is perform well in training and when I get my chance I’ve got to take it.
“We’re on the back of two losses so you never know what’s going to happen. My record last season spoke for itself we were unbeaten for a long time so hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to come back in.”
If given the nod, Kelly could come up against international team-mate Shane Long, who scored for his country at Craven Cottage.
And he has warned his fellow Fulham defenders will have to be on their guard against the former Reading frontman.
“I know him [Shane Long] well and know his game,” said Kelly.
“I’ll be telling our defenders all about him. He’s in very good form and causes people problems with his pace and his aerial ability.
“He chases things down other centre-forwards would leave. The lads have been around long enough to know what to expect.
“Longy’s a good friend and we’ve been together for a couple of weeks. It’s always interesting when you play against them straight away but when you cross the white line friends become enemies.”