Blackburn Rovers winger Elrio van Heerden hopes his injury lay-off will not hamper his chances of a World Cup place.
The 26-year-old South African signed for Rovers on a free transfer from Belgian side Club Brugge during the summer, but has yet to make a Premier League appearance for the Ewood Park outfit.
Van Heerden has been named in the Bafana Bafana squad for games against Norway and Iceland, but he admits another setback could damage his chances of playing in next year's World Cup in his own country.
"The World Cup is far away and my first battle, my first goal, is to win a place in the first team here and do well for the club and then think about the World Cup after that," he told the Blackburn Citizen.
"Of course it is a big event, it is going to be something special for all South Africans especially, but also for the whole world, and I hope I can be a part of that."
Rovers boss Sam Allardyce has admitted the winger will need time to adapt to English football, after an injury-plagued 2008 campaign that saw him sidelined for 10 months with a knee problem.
Van Heerden added: "All I can do is wait patiently and when I get my chance I have to make use of it. So hopefully I will get a chance soon in the future to show what I can do.
"Playing first-team football is important for my South Africa hopes, of course, but first I have to keep working hard in training and just bide my time for the chance to come along."