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Scott Parker has challenged Aleksandar Mitrovic to prove himself worthy of regaining his starting spot by firing Fulham into the fifth round of the FA Cup against Burnley this weekend.

The Serbian striker has started just a single Premier League game since November – the 1-1 draw against his former club Newcastle – and Ivan Cavaleiro has been preferred as a more mobile option in Parker’s new-look 3-4-3 system. The Fulham boss wants Mitrovic, who has scored just three goals this season after winning the Championship golden boot last term, to rediscover his mojo.

“He had 10 minutes against Manchester United, [if] the opportunity comes for a start against Burnley or a start against Brighton, they are all big opportunities. I think Mitro would be the first to say that this season’s probably not taken off as well as he would have liked. That’s not just Mitro, there are a few probably in that bracket.

“I know for sure this year…he’s probably the first to be a little bit disappointed, but I also know for sure that he has a big part to play. He has a big part to play along with everyone else in this squad, and at this moment the facts are that he’s come out of the team, the team have done relatively well and that’s part of Premier League football.

“That’s part of competition, part of being in the league and the competition in the squad. This is part and parcel of it and what drives the top players on, what keeps pushing those players to get to where they get to – and this is where Mitro will be. I’ve seen that [hard graft] on a daily basis, of course.

“But again, I always say to the players first and foremost you have to have a big self-reflection hitting back at you and understand where things are, and always having that foundation that through graft, through hard work to keep practising, keep working tirelessly, your quality always comes through.

“Dips in form, you often find with strikers that’s what happens – it’s the reason they are the headline makers. They have got the hardest job to do, and you often find a little dip in form probably affects strikers more than any other position on the pitch, maybe keepers as well. But quality always shines through and he has to keep grafting away. Hopefully then [it] will turn, and I know it will with that outlook.”