Stephen McPhail (right) was once club captain of Cardiff City
Stephen McPhail hopes his starring role in Cardiff City's 6-1 demolition of Derby can keep Wales midfielder Joe Ledley out of the side to face Watford.
The Irish midfielder played a key part in four of the Bluebirds' six goals on Tuesday and McPhail was hailed by four-goal hero Michael Chopra.
McPhail returned from a three-match ban for the suspended Ledley and now hopes to keep out Cardiff's talisman.
"I felt I had something to prove on Tuesday," McPhail said.
One-time captain McPhail has often suffered the wrath of the Cardiff faithful - especially after getting dismissed in both south Wales derby draws with Swansea City last season.
But the 29-year-old's performance at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night was applauded by home fans as he had a hand in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth goals.
"I was disappointed getting sent off at Reading and I was desperate to get back into the team," said McPhail.
Cardiff 6-1 Derby
"I knuckled down, kept my head down and had a point to prove.
"I don't want to let Joe back in, it is as simple as that.
"I've been out too many times and I've taken it on the chin. But I know I've got to keep performing as the central midfield position is the one with the most players."
Cardiff travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday without a win at Watford since October 1970 and Ledley, who was dismissed after his two yellow cards in their defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, is available again to boss Dave Jones.
But he joked: "I might not get back into the team, credit to the boys as they played some good football against Derby."
Ledley has not been dropped since breaking into the Cardiff first-team as a teenager back in 2004 and both he and McPhail are battling to play alongside Gavin Rae in the Bluebirds midfield.
When Chopra makes those runs, you don't have to be gifted to pick him out
Cardiff midfielder Stephen McPhail
Hotshot Chopra's second four-goal haul of his career took his season's tally to 12 goals in 13 games and the City striker praised McPhail's impact.
"I've built a good link-up with Macca over the years," said Chopra.
"I know when Macca gets the ball, he will always try to find me. So all I've got to do is find a bit of space and he'll get the ball to me."
And McPhail added: "When Chopra makes those runs, you don't have to be gifted to pick him out.
"He's very clever in what he does and we can pick him out. I know what he is all about and if he keeps making those runs, I'll try to find him as much as I can."
Cardiff had won just once in five league games before they hit Derby for six and now Cardiff manager Dave Jones' men, who once topped the Championship, are desperate to go on a run to move up from fifth place.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.