Cameron Jerome is willing to put aside personal disappointment if his dynamic intervention from the substitutes' bench can help Stoke City complete an unbeaten year at the Britannia Stadium.
Only Chelsea and Wigan now stand between the Potters and that milestone after Jerome's stunning 30-yard, last-minute equaliser kept the record intact against Southampton on Saturday, when Stoke clawed back a 3-1 deficit to finish 3-3 despite a red card for Steven Nzonzi.
It was the second time in a month that Jerome had come off the bench to preserve the run, having made one goal and scored the winner as Stoke came from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1 in late November, when the scoreline was overturned in the last nine minutes.
Yet Jerome seems no closer to a regular place. He has not started any Premier League fixtures and was close to joining a Championship club on loan in October. However, Stoke's strong collective spirit seems to have persuaded him to be more accepting of his role.
"The manager chooses his team and you just have to accept that," Jerome said. "You just have to go out and play your best for the team when you come on. I'll always keep working hard. If an opportunity comes I'll stick it away if I can. But we have a good squad. The most important thing is the point because it keeps the unbeaten run going and keeps the momentum in the camp."
Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager, said: "Any point you pick up in this league is a positive one but this one will give the lads a belief again; to dig in, battle and scrap."