Joleon Lescott is anxious to make up for lost time after returning to action against Bolton.
The England defender had to sit out a dozen matches after injuring his knee in the away fixture with Wanderers but is now ready to battle for a spot in a side striving for FA Cup glory and Euro qualification.
Lescott couldn’t conceal his delight after suffering no ill-effects to his knee in the 2-0 win on Tuesday night.
“It was great to be back and good to be part of a clean sheet,” he declared after replacing skipper Kolo Toure in the second half.
“Injuries are always frustrating but after five years pretty much free of serious problems you forget how frustrating it is sitting on the sidelines and watching.
“Funnily enough I had always pencilled in the Bolton game for a return to action, so from that point of view I am bang on track.”
Competition for places at the heart of the back four has stiffened considerably since Lescott last started a Premier League game and he knows that the path back into the team will not be easy.
“While I was injured and Kolo was away at the Africa Cup of Nations Vincent Kompany and Dedryck Boyata have both come in and done exceptionally well,” he conceded.
Dedryck may have been a bit of a surprise but he has taken his chance well and is a really promising young player while everyone knows about Vincent’s ability wherever he plays
...Joleon Lescott on the competition for places
“He is a quality centre half as well as a midfielder and will be hard to shift from the side. All I can do is work as hard as I possibly can in training and take my chance when it comes. With so much at stake here and the World Cup coming at the end of the season I obviously want to be playing regularly
“We are in a great position in the league after the win against Bolton. We executed the manager’s plan well, did what he wanted us to do and the table looks good. It was just the boost we needed after the Hull game. The lads knew they had played badly in that game and it was important to bounce back quickly and that’s what we did.”