Hibs star Kevin McBride has been assured he remains very much in the plans of boss Colin Calderwood despite missing the Easter Road outfit's last seven matches.
An ever-present at the start of the season, apart from a one-match suspension following his red card against Rangers, McBride's last taste of SPL action was in Calderwood's first match in charge of the Hibees, a 4-2 defeat at Aberdeen.
The former Celtic, Motherwell and Falkirk midfielder was forced to quit that match at half-time with a knee injury but returned to take a place on the bench the following week at Tannadice.
However, McBride has been no more than an unused substitute since and didn't even make it that far at the weekend as Hibs lost again at Kilmarnock.
But Calderwood's assistant Derek Adams insisted players such as McBride, Lewis Stevenson and club captain Chris Hogg, who have enjoyed limited first team action in recent weeks, that they still have a part to play.
He said: "It's always frustrating for players when they aren't playing as much as they would like but there will be an opportunity for them to get a game.
"It's been difficult for Kevin but he has been training and training hard. He's played in a few bounce games, he's still very much in our plans and hopefully he can push his way into the team."
Calderwood and Adams will be hoping the competition for places becomes even fiercer in the next few weeks, with long term injury victims Merouane Zemmama and Darryl Duffy back in full training and eyeing a return to the action as they seek to help lift Hibs from the lower reaches of the SPL table.