Joleon Lescott is happy to put himself through the mill in his bid to secure a seat on the England plane that jets out to South Africa for the World Cup finals in June.
The centre-half has just faced two stiff examinations under Stoke's aerial barrage and must now prepare to tackle one of the world's best strikers in Liverpool's Fernando Torres.
But having come back at a crucial stage of City's season from knee surgery after missing a dozen games, he is determined not to miss out on fourth place or a World Cup trip.
Lescott, watched on Saturday by England manager Fabio Capello, said: "If I can hit a level of consistency then hopefully I can get myself in the England squad this summer.
"It was horrible being on the sidelines. It's never nice to miss games and I'm not the greatest company when I do. I just had to focus on regaining my fitness.
"I'm delighted to be back and happy with my form. I've had to work hard at getting fit, and I owe a big thank-you to the medical staff who've helped my recovery.
"We've a great squad - Dedryck Boyata proved he can play and Vincent Kompany has been outstanding as always. But I like to think that if given the chance I can keep the shirt."
City were held 1-1 by Stoke's ten men on Tuesday night, but Lescott argued: "We showed great character, because Stoke is no easy place to go. Bigger teams have stumbled there.
"When they went down to ten men we thought we'd dictate the game, but it wasn't to be. It was a relief to get the goal in the end. We knew any kind of result would get us into fourth.
"The manager said what needed to be said. He was disappointed. The end product was missing. But it's in our hands, which is how you want it to be going into the final stretch of the season."