WITH injury scuppering the chance to pull on his beloved Wales jersey, Alex Lawless could be forgiven for feeling lower than anyone in the Forest Green squad.
The midfielder was forced to pull out of this week's Wales C international against Finland, swapping Llanelli for the treatment room at Oxstalls as he strives to overcome back and hamstring problems.
It was another blow in his season of frustration, but a burning desire to return to the Rovers fold against Mansfield Town tomorrow means he was never likely to put country before club.
Lawless said: "I'm disappointed to have missed the Finland game but, with this season not going as well as the last, my main priority is Forest Green.
"Results aside, it's horrible watching from the sidelines and I'd much rather be out on the pitch trying to help the team.
"I'm more confident this week because I've had a clear scan, which means I can step up my work with the physio and risk a few things.
"I won't be getting too excited because I've done that before and had a few setbacks, but fingers crossed I'll be okay."
The 25-year-old's absence was felt against Altrincham last weekend, when a 3-1 defeat took Rovers' winless run to 12 league matches.
Key duo John Hardiker and midfielder Lee Fowler were also missing, but Lawless feels injuries are only partly to blame.
"Last year everything had a nice flow to it, whereas at the moment we seem to be lacking confidence when it comes to the league games," he said.
"But nobody remembers the first half of a season if you end up having some success at the end of it, and there is still time to turn things around.
"No excuses, we've got to take advantage of playing on our own pitch over the next few games and get some wins on the board."
Tomorrow's clash is the second of five straight home matches for Rovers in all competitions and looks a good chance for them to move out of the drop zone.
Relegated from League Two last season, Mansfield find themselves only four points and two places better off than their hosts in the table.
They were docked four points for fielding ineligible players in the first two games of the season.
Forest Green's FA Cup second-round tie at home to Rochdale has been scheduled for November 29 (3pm). Spectators can pay on the day.