Fill-in gloveman Matt Acton is savouring his moment in the A-League spotlight, saying he'll be ready if his stint in Melbourne Victory's goals continues through to the finals.
But he's not ready to look that far ahead, knowing even his best performances might not be enough to keep him there.
Such is the life of a back-up goalkeeper, and Acton knows it well.
Acton, 26, has been an A-League understudy for five seasons.
Since winning a place on Brisbane Roar's list in 2013, he's made just eight A-League starts.
Three of those have come in the last month due to a knee injury to championship-winning goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.
With Victory reticent to put a timeframe on Thomas's return, Acton knows he could be back on the bench for Friday's trip to Adelaide United, or playing through the finals.
"If the opportunity does present itself to play in huge matches, I'll be very excited and ready to go," he told AAP.
"But it's hard to look in the future. So I just take each day as it comes."
Coach Kevin Muscat paid tribute to Acton after his efforts in Victory's 2-1 defeat of Central Coast, saying the gloveman had his place "on merit".
Muscat likened Acton's acrobatic 85th-minute save from the Mariners' only shot on target all match - save for their penalty goal - to the role he's played this season.
"He's right in saying that," Acton said.
"I haven't played a lot this season but I take pride in being ready.
"When you're in my position, for most of my career, you don't want to get to a point where you have to perform and you're not ready.
"So I'm always making sure I'm ready mentally and physically."
If Victory are to return to the grand final, for the fourth time in five seasons, they'll have at least seven games in 33 days.
Acton said squad rotation and getting back into a winning habit would be crucial.
"We haven't been playing bad, it's that results hadn't gone our way," he said.
"We've got games, finals, trips to Asia coming up.
"It's like myself, everybody needs to be ready. If we're not we're going to play the price."
Australian Associated Press