Luke Brattan is confident of retaining a starting berth at Brisbane Roar in the season ahead despite the arrival of high-quality midfielders Liam Miller and Matt McKay.
Miller made the move from Perth Glory to Suncorp Stadium at the end of last season after impressing during his two seasons in Western Australia, while McKay, a championship-winner with the Roar in 2009-10, has returned to Queensland following spells with Glasgow Rangers, Busan IPark and Changchun Yatai.
Their arrival might have signalled trouble for Brattan, who established himself in the first team last season, but speaking to Goal Australia and Sportal.com.au's In Off The Post podcast this week, the English-born 23-year-old said he expects to retain a prominent place in coach Mike Mulvey's thinking.
"It's looking good," he said when asked about the make-up of the Roar's midfield so far in pre-season.
"I'm sort of like a holding number six at the moment, with Liam and Maty in front of me, more attacking. We're trying to work a rotating three where none of us have got just set positions, just balancing off each other, whenever someone's not [in position], someone's going to cover for them.
"It's looking really good. They're two great players and it makes my job a lot easier, playing with them."
When asked if he expects to be in the first team when the 2013-14 season begins, Brattan said: "I hope so. The way it's looking now I will be and I've sort of cemented my spot in the starting XI at the end of last year and this pre-season, so as far as it's going now I'm in the frame [to start], I've just got to hold my position now."
Prior to breaking into the first team last season, Brattan was linked with a move away from Queensland, and although his preference was to stay and fight to be recognised, he admitted a transfer elsewhere was a genuine possibility.
"I've definitely always wanted to stay here," he said.
"I've grown up here and I've always played here and all my friends and family are here. There was a time where I did think about leaving, a couple of other clubs were speaking to me about that.
"I was in a difficult position because I wasn't starting, I wasn't playing regular football and I was sort at the age where you've got to be breaking into the first team.
"I was looking at my career and what was best for me, there was a couple of months' period where Rado [Vidosic] left and Mike [Mulvey] came in and I started playing then. I bided my time, eventually got some game-time and that's when I proved that I should be there and in the starting XI."
The Roar begin their 2013-14 A-League campaign with a match away to Wellington Phoenix on October 13.