Mark Yeates has been told to sharpen up his ideas if he wants to be more than a bit-part player for the rest of City’s campaign.
The Irishman’s capture last summer after leaving Championship play-off finalists Watford was seen as a real coup on the club’s return to the third tier.
But his first season at Valley Parade has been a disappointment as he faded after a promising start.
Yeates has not played a full game since the Saturday before Christmas at Peterborough – his only start in nearly five months.
After losing his place to Kyel Reid early on, he now finds himself behind in-form loan winger Adam Reach.
Yeates replaced him from the bench against Stevenage last week after a six-game absence but missed a great chance to equalise in stoppage time when he fired wide from close range.
Assistant boss Steve Parkin believes Yeates has to do more if he wants to rediscover a regular role in City’s plans.
Parkin said: “He’s had two decent opportunities to play and just done okay. He’s come off the bench several times and just done okay.
“Yeatesy has got to get himself going.”
The midfielder had been troubled by a knee ligament problem since pre-season and needed injections to calm it down. But Parkin hopes that is now behind him and Yeates can concentrate on pushing his way back into contention.
He added: “To be fair to him, he’s had this niggly knee problem that has dragged on.
“With the type of player he is, he looks to get crosses and shots in. It has hampered him a little bit.
“By all accounts it’s settled down now, although I don’t know if he’s still feeling a little bit of soreness in it again.
“He could be an important player for us between now and the end of the season. It’s important that we push him as hard as we can to get back in the team.
“There’s no doubt about his talent. We all know he’s a very good footballer and that’s why we brought him here.
“As regards getting back in, he’s got to do as much as he possibly can to do that.
“He’s been training hard and working on his fitness. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him.
“It’s important now that when he gets his opportunity, and I’m sure he will with the games we’ve got coming up, that he grabs it with both hands.
“He’s got to persuade us that he deserves a place in the team and he’s going to produce when he gets in there. That’s down to Yeatesy.”