UNITED STATES international Brek Shea knows that he has a major fight on his hands to earn himself a regular starting role under Mark Hughes this season.
The talented forward hasn't yet started a Premier League game for the Potters since making what he described as a dream move from FC Dallas during the January transfer window.
Rehabilitation back from a long-term foot injury restricted the 23-year-old to just two substitute appearances last season, whilst an untimely injury sustained in a pre-season friendly against Philadelphia Union in July has laid the Texan low for the start of the 2013/14 campaign.
However, he feels his injury plagued past is now firmly behind him, and is focussing all of his attentions on forcing himself into top-flight contention.
"It's going to be a good fight," Shea said. "There is a lot of competition for the front three places here and being injured didn't help my cause.
"I've got to put that behind me now though, get fit and fight for a spot. I'm pretty close to full fitness and I feel good, so now it's up to the manager.
"I'm more likely to have a chance next mid-week at Tranmere than at Arsenal on Sunday because we've been playing well, and why change a winning team.
"We've picked up seven points from four games in the league and we've looked good doing it. We're pleased so hopefully we can keep it up."
The American ace, who bagged the decisive goal for his country in this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup Final against Panama, was speaking during a community visit to the Grocott Centre in Heron Cross on Wednesday afternoon.
Shea was on hand to take a look at the new audio and visual equipment at the daycare centre, which has been donated by the Club as part of the hugely popular Community Fund scheme.
"It's important to get out and about in the local community, and to be honest it is something that I actually enjoy doing," he added.
"You get to see many different people from many different walks of life and it is interesting to be out here speaking and getting to know the people who are from the local area."
For more information on the Community Fund scheme, please clickHERE