West Brom defender Goran Popov admits he is playing for his future as he targeted an extended stay in the Premier League.
The Macedonia international is desperate to remain at The Hawthorns beyond his current season-long loan from Dynamo Kiev.
But the 28-year-old, who has played in Albion’s last two games, accepts he must perform to convince the Baggies to buy him next summer.
“I want more than a year,” he said. “My future is here, I don’t want to go back.
“So for me it is important now to play and show that I am good enough to stay in English football.
“I would like to stay here after this year. This is my future and I am thinking like that.
“That’s why I came here. If I wanted to be back in Kiev I wouldn’t have come here.
“I came here because I know I can play here.
“We have spoken about it and the club have said if I do well here this year I can sign for one or two years more.”
Popov is likely to get the first signal of his progress when Albion return to action in a fortnight. He replaced an injured Liam Ridgewell against Villa and QPR but the established first-choice left-back is likely to be fit to face Manchester City.
But the new-boy is relishing his battle with the ex-Birmingham defender.
He added: “When you don’t have competition you know for sure that you will play, then maybe you will play at 50 per cent and not 100.
“You have to show you’re better, and whoever is playing better will play.”
And Popov believes he can help Albion extend their impressive defensive record at The Hawthorns – Rangers two goals on Saturday were the first conceded in four home games.
“For us as a defence we are always looking not to concede a goal,” he said.
“Against Villa I said to the defenders ‘just keep it to zero and everything will be OK’.
“You will get a point or maybe win, because when you have a chance you can take it.
“If you have a corner you can score a goal, so when you keep it to zero it’s good for the team. It is important for us in the back four to concentrate for 90 or 95 minutes.”Subscribe to our Newsletter