Matt Jarvis has been told being West Ham's record signing is no guarantee of a first-team spot under Sam Allardyce.
Hammers boss Allardyce made Jarvis the club's first £10million-plus acquisition at the tail-end of the transfer window.
But after failing to sparkle on his debut in last month's 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Swansea, the 26-year-old winger was dropped.
He has not started a top-flight match since and his recall for Tuesday's 4-1 Capital One Cup home thrashing by Wigan did nothing to boost his hopes of being in Allardyce's XI for tonight's London derby at QPR.
West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald said: "Sam's always had a reputation that if you play well, you stay in the team.
"Whoever can't get in the team - and it might be a record signing - they have to wait for their chance to come along and, when that chance does come along, they've got to be ready."
McDonald added: "The game he started away at Swansea, we didn't play as well as we had done before.
"The players that have come in have done really well against Fulham and Norwich."
Andy Carroll is unlikely to face any such problems breaking back into the side when he recovers from the injury he picked up on his debut against Fulham.
Tonight's game is almost certain to come too soon for the on-loan Liverpool striker but Saturday's Upton Park clash against Arsenal could mark his return.
That is West Ham's final game before the international break and manager Allardyce has already said he planned to talk to England boss Roy Hodgson about whether Carroll should be picked for his country's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
McDonald said: "If he plays against QPR - which is highly unlikely - or Arsenal, he could go away with England and play two games.
"He's getting another two games under his belt if you look at it that way I suppose. That's if Roy wants to play him, which I'm sure he would.
"If he doesn't get picked then he can have a really good couple of weeks with us and we'd put on a couple of behind-closed-doors games for him to make sure that his match-fitness is as good as it has been."
He added: "We have to be very careful to make sure he's fit and that the injury is gone altogether.
"It will be a big blow if he comes back too early and injures himself as he's an important member of the squad.
"He will be a big part of our goal of staying in the Premier League when he is fit.
"You saw when he first came in against Fulham that he gave the players and the crowd a lift and we have to make sure that he is fit and well before we put him back in."