David Bates hopes to use the current injury situation at Raith Rovers to cement his place in the first team.
The 19-year-old was recalled from his loan spell at Brechin City last week as injuries to Lewis Toshney and Jason Thomson left Rovers short on right-sided defenders.
Bates was slotted straight into right back for the Scottish Cup win at Elgin and now hopes he can keep his place in the side.
“I heard Tosh got taken off last week but I didn’t know if it was bad,” Bates said.
“It was a bit weird because I got a missed phonecall from Darren Dods, then a text from him saying all the best - and I was a bit confused.
“It turns out Laurie Ellis had been trying to phone me but I spoke to the gaffer and Laurie the next day and was told I being recalled.
“It’s good in a way, especially since I started on Saturday, played 90 minutes and hopefully now I can keep my place in the team.”
Bates admitted to mixed feelings when was loaned out in September - initial disappointment that he had dropped out of Ray McKinnon’s first team plans at Raith, while also understanding that the move was all part of his future development.
“There was a bit of both, to be fair,” he said. “The gaffer pulled me in after a reserve game and said he thought it would be better for me to get experience and play games rather than sit on the bench and play U20s games on a Tuesday night.”
Bates made 10 appearances for Brechin in League One, and even managed to score his first senior goal in a 2-0 win over Cowdenbeath.
“First team football is the most imporant thing and I learned a lot playing every week - a lot more than I did playing 20s games,” he explained. “I had Ross Perry and Darren Dods playing next to me so they were talking me through games, I was learning bits, and I was playing well, so hopefully I can come back here and keep that going.”
Bates’ natural position is centre-half but he is happy to play right back.
“I was right back against Hibs earlier in the season so I feel comfortable there,” he said. “There’s a lot more work involved than at centre-half - you have to get forward then look back and see all that distance you’ve got to cover.
“Before the game on Saturday the manager just told me to get out early and stop the crosses.
“I got booked in the second minute so I was on a bit of tightrope for the rest of the game, but I felt I done well.
“Hopefully now I can cement my place in the team.”