Cyrus Christie had to call on his reserves of patience to cope with an injury-afflicted season and zero minutes on the pitch during the Republic of Ireland's World Cup campaign.
Derby County defender Christie (24) spent almost three months out of action due to an ankle injury, and then crocked his other ankle in training the day before his scheduled return to action.
He was a regular up to November 5 when Derby defeated Wolves 3-2 away, but his next appearance was not until January 21 at home against Reading, another 3-2 win for the Rams.
Last week Christie had an injection into his left ankle and did not play last Saturday against Nottingham Forest.
He hopes to round off the season on a better note with club and country.
"I had an injection last week and didn't start against Forest. That was tough to miss but hopefully the injection eases the pain," he said.
A starting place against Wales would soothe all pain, physical and mental, but Christie accepts his role as understudy to Seamus Coleman, the man in possession of the No 2 jersey for Ireland.
Coleman trained yesterday and is a certainty to start.
"I'd be ready to play if the worst comes to the worst. I've done it before. I've come in when he was injured.
"I always prepare the same way and I'll keep preparing the same way, just in case, but Seamus is fine. He trained well today," said Christie.
His situation as a challenger to Coleman is underlined by their respective stats - the Everton player has played all four qualifier games which is 360 minutes, while Christie has been an unused sub three times.
The bench is not where he wants to be, but Christie won't be throwing any toys out of the pram because he remains ambitious.
"Every time I come over here it's brilliant for me. I feel really good when I come here. I know the lads, they're great. It's a great set-up with the management. You can see in every one of us every time we go out to play, the spirit's there and we fight to the last minute.
"We're picking up great results and we're a hard team to play against. I don't think anyone really wants to play against us. The spirit that we show is pulling us through, definitely," he said.
That spirit will be required in abundance if Gareth Bale and Wales are to be kept at bay.
"It's going to be a tough game. They've got fantastic spirit as well, and showed their qualities in the Euros. Friday is going to be a battle."