With the injury to Scott Dann and Damien Delaney's upcoming suspension, Brede Hangeland has been thrust back into the limelight and is enjoying every moment of it.
The towering Norwegian centre-back is set to make his sixth appearance of the season against West Bromwich Albion tomorrow afternoon since arriving on a free transfer in the summer with a realistic expectation of how many games his body can take having played at the highest level for so long.
With 275 appearances to his name since arriving in England with Fulham in 2008 whilst collecting the majority of his 91 international caps for Norway, the 33-year-old knows he won't be able to feature as often as he did at Craven Cottage but is enjoying being back in the first-team fold at the present.
He said: “I haven't played as much as I'm used to but I'm at an age now in my career that personal ambitions are not as high as they used to be, I just want to be a part of a good club and play when called upon but if not I'll support the lads from the sidelines.
“It's a different experience for me, I've been used to playing all of the games all of the time but now it's about being realistic. I played around 50 games a year for 10 years running and my hips seem to know so! For me now it's about the team getting results and winning games.
“It's been a mixed start to the season, we've had some really good results and some not so good as you'd expect I'd suppose. This is a club with two feet on the ground and we're quite modest and we'll keep fighting for all the points we can get.”
Hangeland has brought a wealth of experience to the club having experienced many successful years of avoiding relegation with Fulham, so is well-adversed to comment on how difficult the Premier League is, but knows exactly what is required to ensure the Eagles can remain in this division for a third straight campaign.
“We played Chelsea last Saturday and on another day we could have beaten them had we enjoyed a little more luck,” he added. “That's why this league is so incredible as any team can beat anyone on their day which makes for good entertainment. It's a competitive, exciting and hard league which takes its toll but it's great fun.
“For the majority of the time that I've played in this country staying up has always been the aim. In my experience the main goal is to to try and get to 40 points as soon as possible, and hopefully we can do that quite early and see if can have a really good season but we need to get to that mark first and foremost.”