He was dropped partly because of his hand in Sydney FC's past two results, but coach Graham Arnold wants Jacques Faty to work hard and earn back his starting spot.
Arnold opted to leave imports Faty and Serbian midfielder Milo Dimitrijevic on the bench for Sydney's 4-1 home thumping of Central Coast on Saturday night.
Joint vice-captain Faty regularly partners Matt Jurman in central defence, however he gave away two last-gasp penalties in the Sky Blues' past two matches against Adelaide and Wellington, that ultimately left the team short four valuable points.
In the weeks prior, during a period when the Senegalese international was away on personal leave, Seb Ryall plugged the gap and combined well with Jurman, prompting Arnold to again start the pair at Allianz Stadium.
"I just made the decision that we conceded two goals in the last two weeks from penalties in the last couple of minutes," Arnold explained.
"When Seb Ryall and Matt Jurman played the weeks before that we had three or four clean sheets.
"I want competition from players. I don't want them to be happy about not playing, I want them to be disappointed and they have to show me that they deserve to be in the starting line-up.
"Tonight I started with two foreigners on the bench and the young Aussie boys came in and did well.
"The hardest job for me is always dropping people or leaving people out.
"But as I say to them, I've got a 23-man squad, only 11 can start.
"You've got to prove to me and show me that you deserve to be in the starting line-up, and if you're in the starting line-up well, then, perform and keep it. Simple."
Arnold also opted with youth up front, running Andrew Hoole and George Blackwood on the wings in support of the team's other Serbian, Milos Ninkovic, and skipper Alex Brosque, who netted a brace.
Brosque lasted only 26 minutes when he appeared to re-injure his hamstring in his first match back after sitting out the previous two with a strain.
But his coach wasn't concerned, saying the 32-year-old striker felt himself start to tighten up and made an early decision to come off as a precaution.
He said Shane Smeltz (groin) will be fit for next week's away match with Melbourne City, while Filip Holosko will return from suspension.
Arnold was more than content with Sydney's position heading into the new year - in fourth place and having in a single match increased their goal tally from a miserly 11 to a respectable 15.
"This time last year we lost 3-0 to Adelaide, so we're actually three points better off than what we were last year," Arnold said.
"We're happy with the position we're in, and we're playing better and better.
"And it could have been a cricket score."