Kevin Davies is adamant that the re-emergence of Mario Jardel will not spoil his new lease of life at Bolton. Davies has scored three goals in Bolton's seven Premiership games so far this season after moving north following a successful trial in the summer.
The former Southampton striker, who will lead the line at Aston Villa today, could have been forgiven for looking anxiously over his shoulder following Jardel's haul of six Carling Cup and reserve- team goals in seven days. But he insists that he is will use the competition within the squad to continue to improve.
Davies said: "I've scored three so far, and at the start of the season I would have taken that. But I know that it is important to continue scoring more goals so I can keep playing. Jardel is working hard on his fitness and doing well at the moment. I will be disappointed if I am left out, but those decisions are not down to me."
Davies need not worry just yet, with his manager, Sam Allardyce, wary of plunging the Brazilian into his first Premiership start while he is still struggling to regain full fitness. The only chance of Jardel starting today will come if Youri Djorkaeff struggles to shake off a calf strain.
Allardyce, meanwhile, has drafted in the former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Frank Stapleton on a part-time basis to help give his strike-force extra bite on the training field. Allardyce said: "Someone of Frank's experience might be able to make a few slight adjustments and boost confidence in front of goal. I don't think Mario needs any help - but the rest of them can learn something from Frank which, I hope, we will benefit from.
"Even with Mario scoring goals, I don't think we are going to be top-line goal-scorers again; you need money to do that. But I do think that we need more goals than we managed last year."
Davies is determined to make the most of his Bolton chance and finally shed the £7m Blackburn millstone hanging around his neck. He added: "I have been made to feel welcome from day one here, and things have been going great. I thought I was doing well at Southampton last year and I kept going, but I never got the chance.
"I have always known what I am capable of and I am glad I have now got that chance here. Sam is very open and says what he feels, and I like that in a manager."
Allardyce said of Jardel: "I don't think Mario is ready for 90 minutes of Premiership football yet. But he is moving very quickly to where we want him to be and has shown a huge amount of dedication over the past five weeks."Reuse content