Steven Naismith hopes the busy festive period will mean he gets a chance to stake his claim for regular first-team football at Everton.
Scotland forward Naismith has started only four matches in the Premier League this season, despite scoring a hat-trick against Chelsea in September.
Earlier this month, the 29-year-old admitted he may have to leave the club if things don’t change, although he admits it is up to him to prove his worth to manager Roberto Martinez.
“I have got to try and force my way in,” he told Everton’s official website. “I have worked hard in training, as I do all the time.
“We are coming up to a busy period and the manager has been known to use his squad, so I’ll be training as hard as I can to try and force my way in.”
Everton struggled at this stage last season, going on a run of eight matches without a win in all competitions.
And Naismith admits this period is a defining moment of the campaign.
“I think we suffered a lot from that, going through Christmas and not picking up many points at all,” he added.
“That’s always going to harm your chances of finishing as high as you can. We will need to be at it from the first game on Boxing Day right through to the end of this tough period.
“You definitely need to be picking points up. There are a few funny results around the Christmas period and you want to be on top of them.”