Richard Chaplow's blunt northern approach to life stretches to assessing his football career and he is aware that the clock is ticking on his time at West Bromwich Albion.
Eighteen months after arriving from Burnley, the ubiquitous midfielder has still only started seven league games under Bryan Robson.
The 21-year-old was farmed out to Southampton for the latter part of last season's campaign and has returned to Albion with renewed zeal.
Like fellow young buck Darren Carter, Chaplow hasn't quite realised his potential at The Hawthorns yet therefore this season is critical to his development.
A routine cartilage operation during the close season has left Chaplow refreshed and he was at the forefront of Albion's stunning sessions during their recent trip to Scotland.
In fact, it is safe to assume that Chaplow is in pretty good nick ahead of the Champion-ship campaign. But will he be given the opportunity to make an impact?
Although pre-season friendlies are notoriously misleading, it looks as though Chaplow may have to wait for his opportunity on the evidence thus far.
Chaplow is aware of the competition in Albion's engine room but insists he cannot afford another 18 months like he has just experienced.
"Everyone within the club, my family and people I talk to, all agree that this season is a big one for West Brom and me in terms of establishing myself as a full-time first-teamer.
Just like I was at Burnley," said Chaplow.
"I have got nearly 100 games under my belt. That isn't bad for 21 but, to say I came from Burnley with 75, it isn't the best return in the last year and a half.
"If I am not getting games then maybe I will have to reassess the situation. I think, also, that the club will want to do the same.
"Neither of us can be happy if they have a player on the outskirts not playing and I wouldn't be happy at all.
"I spoke to the manager briefly and he said I would get my chances this year so it is up to me to take them. The ball is in my court and I need to take it with both hands.
"Midfield is an area in which we are particularly strong. Zoltan (Gera), Jonathan (Greening), Ronnie (Wallwork) and Nigel (Quashie) are all good, established players.
"It is going to be tough to get in, but it is one of those things that I am going to have to do. I have to try and break through."
Competition could become even fiercer for Chaplow if Albion can secure the services of David Thompson within the next seven days.
The former Wigan and Blackburn midfielder is still on Albion's radar, as is defender Danny Shittu.
Nevertheless, despite the paucity of action Chaplow has witnessed in an Albion shirt, he harbours no regrets about moving on from his home town club of Burnley.
"No offence to Burnley, as I support them and am a huge fan, but there is not a lot of pressure on them," added Chaplow.
"They don't expect to win the league every year and they don't expect to be relegated.
"They have shown they are an established Championship team that finishes in mid-table every year.
"If I had stayed there I could have drifted into the mould of an easy lifestyle. The way I looked at it, I needed to push on. West Brom gave me that opportunity.
"I was more than happy to come here and I am still delighted to be here.
"Ever since I signed for Albion I have been saying that I want to play football, as does everyone else.
"I wasn't happy with the fact that I wasn't performing to my full potential and, therefore wasn't getting in the team.
"The right move was to get away (Southampton) for a couple of months, clear my head a little bit, come back and make a fresh start.
"I intend to go in and see the manager before the start of the season and see what his intentions are with me this season. Hopefully, it will be along the same lines as myself.
"I need to start kicking on now and taking my game to another level."