Darren Barr hopes to help Hearts clinch third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this weekend before proving his ability in the final weeks of the season.
The 26-year-old joined from Falkirk last summer but has endured a campaign riddled by injury. Barr recently underwent hernia surgery and he is focused on regaining full fitness and claiming a regular place in the Hearts team.
Ahead of Saturday's trip to Kilmarnock, Barr said: "I had to get a hernia operation and it's been recurring over the last few weeks so I've been getting injections to see if it settles down. I need to try and get myself back in the swing of things and hopefully kick on from there."
Ten of Barr's appearances this season came before the end of October and he has made one appearance since, in the December win at Motherwell.
He added: "Personally it's been a bit frustrating more than anything.
"I felt I did okay. I went out of the side and the boys went on a good run. I got back in and got a wee injury."
But Barr is galvanised by the challenge of breaking into the team ahead of Hearts' other defensive options, which includes the likes of Marius Zaliukas and Andy Webster.
He added: "There's a lot of good players here and it makes me determined to get in the side and show what I can do.
"I need to be confident in my own ability. You want to play more than anything at this stage of your career.
"I just want to play. Hopefully I can do that over the last few weeks of the season."