Frustrated Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie will have to bide his time if he is to regain a place in David O'Leary's starting line-up.
Villa's longest-serving player has yet to start a match this season, after suspension followed by a knee injury which needed surgery. Although Hendrie has also been used in central midfield, O'Leary says it is the form of right-wing James Milner that is keeping him out.
Milner has been a consistent performer wide on the right since arriving on loan from Newcastle United on deadline day in August.
He showed his class when his turn of speed and pin-point low cross set up Gareth Barry's match-clinching second goal at Sunderland on Saturday.
O'Leary has made it clear that Milner is first choice for that position on the right, saying: "Lee wasn't really up for selection early in the season because of that suspension, followed by his injury. Now what he's got to face is that he's got a player to compete against in James Milner.
"James holds the shirt at the moment as he's playing well, and he's a young player who I think will get better and better.
"I know Lee's frustrated and just wants to play games. But, as Sir Alex Ferguson says, when you look at other people's squads and say he's got more than me, the biggest trick is remembering that you can pick only 11.
"You'd love to pick them all, but I will pick 11 who are doing the business and then it's down to them."
Hendrie says he'd like to be loaned to stay match-fit but O'Leary said: "Lee has never come to me and asked about going out on loan. He's due a testimonial at the end of the season and deserves one as he's been here a long time. But that's the only thing I've talked to him about."
Meanwhile, following the morale-boosting win at Sunderland, O'Leary has had two pieces of positive team news before Saturday's visit of Charlton Athletic.
Kevin Phillips should be fit to play after a calf scare while Patrik Berger has returned to training after missing two games following a cartilage operation and could be on the bench.
Phillips limped off last Saturday, only 12 minutes after scoring an emotional goal on his return to his old club. But the initial assessment that it was just a bit of cramp by Roy Aitken, Villa's No 2, has been confiemed by the Villa medics.
"He's had a scan," O'Leary said, "and there was nothing untoward. He hasn't pulled a calf muscle, which is a relief. He'll be back in training by Thursday and he'll be OK for the weekend."
O'Leary is also hopeful about Berger, saying: "If he has a good week then he has an outside chance of making the bench."
Mark Delaney's absence at Sunderland with a groin problem also gives him a chance of being training later this week. But Juan Pablo Angel - yet to score this season - is still receiving treatment for the calf injury that forced his withdrawal.
O'Leary stressed that Eric Djemba-Djemba, who ruffled feathers with his headline-making comments about the manager, was not dropped for disciplinary reasons.
With Hendrie and Eirik Bakke on the bench along with Stuart Taylor, Luke Moore and Ulises de la Cruz, another midfielder was not needed.
O'Leary said: "The decision to keep Eric out of the 16 was not done out of spite. Don't forget, when you get comments like the ones Eric made last week, they're generally from the ones who aren't in the team. Steven Davis is the one ahead of him at the moment and that's why he's not in the team.
"We had already got two midfield players on the bench, as well as Ulises De La Cruz, as he was the only defender. But, it was all about having a balance on the bench, not a disciplinary thing."