Kieran Richardson hopes the arrival of two new defenders at Manchester United can free him up to fill the midfield berth he craves.
After impressing during a loan spell at West Brom last season, Richardson rejected a return to The Hawthorns so that he could have a crack at breaking into Sir Alex Ferguson's senior squad this term.
In one sense, the move has worked.
Richardson's outing in Wednesday's FA Cup replay with Burton was his 23rd of the season.
However, the majority of those outings have been at left-back - where the England international was installed on the Red Devils' pre-season tour of the Far East and has been required ever since Gabriel Heinze suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in September.
While Richardson could easily view the £12million joint signing of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra as a threat to his first-team place, the 21-year-old prefers to look on the positive side.
With Park Ji-Sung currently sidelined through injury and Cristiano Ronaldo out of form and suspended anyway for Sunday's Premiership encounter with Liverpool, Richardson is hoping Ferguson will now push him into a more attacking role.
"The manager has just signed two defenders, so that might give me the opportunity to play further up field for the rest of the season," he said.
"I have really enjoyed this year so far. At the beginning of the season I was playing full-back, which I was happy to do because playing for Manchester United is the main thing.
"But it would be great for me if I could play further up field, because it is my more natural position. I hope I will get the opportunity to do that - then I have to take it."
After struggling for two weeks with a virus, Richardson is delighted to be feeling well again - capping an excellent performance against Burton with a second-half goal to add to his early 'assist' for Louis Saha's opener.
Whether it will be enough to keep him in the side for the weekend visit of Rafael Benitez's men remains to be seen.
After chopping and changing his side for recent cup matches and opting disastrously to pair Evra with his fellow Frenchman Mikael Silvestre on the left side of his defence against Manchester City, Ferguson knows there will be no room for experimentation.
A match which pits the two north-west giants into battle could also prove pivotal in who grabs second spot behind Chelsea this term.
"Liverpool is a massive game," said Richardson.
"It is the one each set of supporters wants to win, and I hope we can get it to put our Premiership campaign back on track."
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