SHEFFIELD Wednesday midfield player Sean McAllister is bidding to bounce back from injury to aid the club's cause and stake a claim for a new contract.
The 22-year-old whose deal runs out this summer has had a frustrating time, first as a sub then sidelined for a month by a stomach injury.
But he is stepping up his recovery and would love to be back in contention by the time of the Sheffield derby a week on Sunday if not sooner.
"When the new manager came in the team were flying so you wouldn't expect too many changes; I was trying to get in and when I was coming on as sub I thought I was doing ok," he said.
"Then I got the injury while doing some extra shooting after training and failed a fitness test the next day, on the morning that we played at Swansea."
McAllister says that he definitely aims to be available for part of the run-in: "It's been getting a lot better; hopefully I'll be back for the big game next week - not that there are any small games now.
"I've been running a lot better and putting in some good shifts.
"It's been a frustrating time: I've not been able to start earning a new deal. But hopefully I'll be available soon, and the gaffer has seen me in training. He knows what I can do.
"He knows his stuff on all his players; he knew about me before he came in. Hopefully I'll be able to show him even more what I can do."
McAllister, who came through the Owls' youth system, remains happy at Hillsborough and would like to stay.
"I love being in here in Sheffield. First and foremost we've got to make sure we're in the Championship next season."
Irvine has said he cannot make decisions on his squad for next season until he knows what division the club will be in.
He has targeted at least two wins from the remaining four games as the Owls bid to avoid relegation.