Melbourne Victory grand final hero Lawrence Thomas has promised new gloveman Danny Vukovic a fight to be starting goalkeeper at the A-League champion club.
Thomas has signed on for another two years with Victory after playing a key role in the club's drought-breaking success last season.
With goalkeeper Nathan Coe sidelined with a back injury during the last month of the season, Thomas filled in admirably.
Despite watching on from the bench in all but one of Victory's regular season matches before Coe's injury, Thomas helped Kevin Muscat's side win the Premier's Plate in the final weeks before keeping clean sheets throughout their finals campaign.
Thomas said he believed his late-season efforts meant Muscat would have a tough decision on his hands when the season kicks off in October.
"My mindset is not at all that I'm a second choice, I'm here to play," he told AAP.
"I think I showed last year a slice of what I could do and I think we're level.
"Whoever performs best in pre-season will start I guess, we'll see."
His comments are likely to please Muscat greatly, given his hunger to see young players challenging their more established starters in every position.
In the celebrations of Victory's title win in May, he said he would consider leaving Muscat's side for guaranteed first-team football.
But now he wants more of the winning feeling - and another chance to impress in the Asian Champions League.
Thomas revealed he agreed to stay long before Victory's announcement on Monday, and prior to Vukovic landing at AAMI Park.
"I was told before I signed that they were bringing in someone quite a bit older, with quite a bit of experience so it was something I needed to think about," he said.
"I wouldn't say it was a no-brainer, there was a bit of thought going into it.
"I had the chance to play two seasons ago in Asia, it's a massive opportunity and it's a big part of why I stayed.
"With the way last year finished, I'm trying to get a bit more success and I think if I keep at the top of my game I should be able to get some game time."
Vukovic, 30, signed last month with Coe released in the week after the grand final win.
Victory are still a week away from returning to training with their first official match coming in the FFA Cup against lowly Balmain Tigers on August 4.
With the re-signing of Thomas and Jesse Makarounas, tied to the club on a one-year deal, just one of Victory's premiership stars remains out of contract; Archie Thompson.
Thompson's future is linked to the agreement of a new pay deal for the upcoming season that will allow Victory to place half of his wage outside the salary cap.