GRETAR Steinsson hopes his timely return to boost Wanderers’ survival battle can help secure his long-term future at the Reebok.

After finding himself out of the picture since October, the Icelandic full-back bounced back with a gritty display against Blackburn to help his side move off the bottom of the table.

Steinsson, whose contract runs out in the summer, hopes he did enough at Ewood Park to remain in Owen Coyle’s thoughts over Christmas, with key games against Newcastle United and Wolves to come. But by answering his manager’s call in the hour of need, the full-back also has one eye on his future at the club.

“The manager knows what he gets from me,” he said. “I work hard and I’ll put my neck on the line for the team. He knows I’m ready when he wants me to play, and if he doesn’t, I’m a professional, so I’ll keep fit and then, when I’m needed, I’ll be there.

“The most important thing is the team. I want to play, but I want them to do well too. Hopefully I’ll get enough games before the end of the season to prove I’m worth having.”

Steinsson has been overlooked in favour of Dedryck Boyata, Joe Riley and even David Wheater at right-back at various stages this season.

And while his exclusion has, at times, been a bitter pill to swallow, the 29-year-old has taken heart from the fact he was asked to step up for Tuesday night’s derby victory against Blackburn.

“It’s not nice being out of it,” he said. “You want to play for the team, and people know this club is close to my heart. When we are not doing well we want to chip in, and thankfully I got the confidence from the manager to play in such an important game. Hopefully, I have done enough to get a start on Monday.”

Steinsson is relieved to be heading into the game against Newcastle on Boxing Day with a degree of breathing space.

Wanderers must beat the Magpies and hope Wolves and Wigan lose at Arsenal and Manchester United respectively to stand a chance of escaping the bottom three.

And having seen the team set the right standard at Ewood Park, Steinsson finds it even harder to fathom how the Whites have found themselves in such a desperate situation.

“If we had lost against Blackburn, you wouldn’t even like to think what could have happened,” he said.

“There’s a small margin between winning and losing, but we needed to pick ourselves up because we were running out of time to get ourselves out of it.

“Every game is important over Christmas now, and we have got the players and everything we need to get points.

“We can only blame ourselves for where we are at the moment. We’ve been childish and stupid to allow ourselves to slip into this and we should be higher up.

“Everyone needs to look at themselves and look at how we had gone about things until Blackburn, and raise our game to pick up the points.”