Steve Clarke has challenged defender Goran Popov to win a permanent move to West Bromwich Albion during the remainder of the season.
Clarke insists Popov will return to the squad with a clean slate, following his moment of madness against Fulham last month when he was given a three-game ban for spitting at Kyle Walker during Albion's defeat against Tottenham.
Popov is in contention for this weekend's visit of Swansea City, but his long-term future is less certain as the 28-year-old's season-long loan from Dynamo Kyiv enters the final stages.
Albion have an option to convert the loan into a permanent transfer this summer and Clarke is still undecided on whether to retain Popov's services.
"Now Goran has to step up and show he can challenge for the left-back position again. I like to think all the players every week, every day are trying to impress," said Clarke. "But there is an end product for Goran in all of this. It won't be finalised until the end of the season.
"He has to keep at it, keep impressing, keep working every day in training. But every day in training his attitude has been really good. He's made some impressive performances for us and the type of competition we've got for the left-back position is the kind of competition you want to replicate all over the pitch. There are two good players fighting for the same position."
Popov's place in Albion's line-up has been taken by Liam Ridgewell and the former Birmingham City and Aston Villa full-back has made an impressive return to the side.
"Liam has been really good. Since he's been in, he's had a little chance of an extended run in the team and done well," said Clarke. "It can be that when someone is chasing your position it focuses your mind a little bit. That's what I meant about us having competition for places.
"It focuses your mind if someone is trying to take your place. And it works in reverse if you're trying to get into the team and there is somebody else trying to get into the side."