GEORGE Thorne is hoping to give Derby County boss Steve McClaren a midfield selection headache once John Eustace returns from suspension.
Thorne made his long-awaited Rams debut in Saturday's 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest - seven weeks after joining on loan from West Bromwich Albion.
The 21-year-old replaced experienced holding midfielder Eustace, who picked up a two-match ban for collecting his 10th booking of the season at Reading, and helped McClaren's men to a famous victory.
Eustace completes his suspension tonight when Derby visit Ipswich Town, kick-off 7.45pm, and Thorne is keen to stake his claim for a regular starting spot.
"Eusty has been very good and he's a bit unlucky with his suspension," he said.
"But I have to be pleased that I've come in the team and we've won 5-0.
"Hopefully, if I can get in the team on Tuesday, I can build on that.
"If I get the call, I've got to try to put in a performance to keep the shirt.
"There are a lot of lads who are eager to get a game.
"In order to get the best out of each other, we need to be pushing each other.
"I'll be doing what I can to give the gaffer something to think about."
Thorne has had to be patient in waiting for his chance to impress after being an unused substitute for eight matches.
"Of course it's been frustrating," he said.
"If you're not frustrated when you're not playing, then you've got to look at yourself.
"But that's one of the things about being in a promotion-chasing side – there’s competition for places and that's the way it should be.
"In the past season or two, I've had a few setbacks with injury.
"So I know what it takes to be patient now and I think I've grown up in that sense.
"You've got to wait for your chance and, hopefully, I've done myself no harm."
Thorne was brought in by McClaren as cover for Eustace, whose role has been key to the Rams' success this season.
"I like to get on the ball and I think it's my strongest position," said Thorne, who has also had loan spells with Watford, Peterborough and Portsmouth.
"But I wouldn't just set myself in one position. I like to get forward too when I can.
"I think I've got the ability to get further forward - but I'll play wherever I'm told to play.
"The manager is in charge and I'll do whatever job I'm given to the best of my ability."