LEE Gregory admits he has been left frustrated by a lack of game time since his £250,000-move to Millwall in the summer.
The former Halifax star has started just twice for Ian Holloway’s side this season – and a niggling hip injury kept him out of the last three matches.
The 26-year-old played 90 minutes for Neil Harris’ development squad earlier this week in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday’s Championship clash with Huddersfield Town.
Gregory, who scored 31 goals during the 2013-14 campaign, is now hoping to earn a recall to Holloway’s starting XI at the John Smith’s Stadium.
But he accepts he may have to wait his turn for an opportunity.
"I really hope that I'm involved and that the manager thinks I'm fit enough to be in the squad," Gregory told the Southwark News.
"It is very frustrating because I was playing week in, week out last season and knew I would play every week.
"But I never expected to walk straight into the side here and knew it was going to be tough. That was always in the back of my mind and I expected to be in and out of the side.
"I've got my head around that but I do hope I get an opportunity and that I don't get to Christmas without playing many games, which I am going to fear.
"But there are a lot of games between now and then, and it's a long season, so I'm sure I'll get a run of starts.
"I just have to be patient and bide my time. I know I'll get a chance, I just have to make sure I’m ready for it."
Gregory has been inundated with Twitter messages from fans who are hoping to see him get a run of starts.
"It's been nice reading those," the forward added. "Now that I'm here, I want nothing more than to play. I want to play now and that's why I get so frustrated.
"The frustration that comes from not playing is difficult to deal with. But when I go home I forget about that frustration because tomorrow is always a new day.
"I wake up every morning with a positive outlook. I'm always confident and positive but it would knock me if I was really out of the squad or didn't travel to games even when I'm fit.
"Everyone's confidence would get knocked down in that situation but I'm hoping I'll get my chance soon."
Gregory added: "This is a big week for me. I got a good 90 minutes under my belt on Monday so that's in my favour.
"I'll probably have a quick word with the manager to see what his plans are for me.
"We’ve got three games in the space of a week coming up so if I'm not in the squad on Saturday, hopefully I'll be included for the Birmingham game on Tuesday."
Gregory is desperate to emulate the success of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy – a former Halifax teammate who is now playing Premier League football.
Last weekend, Vardy scored in a 5-3 win over Manchester United.
"That's exactly my thinking – that I can follow a similar path,” Gregory added.
"I thought about that when Jamie first moved to Leicester a couple of years ago. I stay in touch with him – he's a good lad and a very hard worker with a lot to his game
"There's loads of talent in non-league – some people get a lucky break and others don’t.
"I've always told myself that I can do something similar to Jamie if I put my mind to it and luckily the manager here has given me a chance to do that.
"Once I get playing and get a goal, I'll settle down."