Wayne Bridge is aiming to be back for City's return to Premier League action against Blackburn as he battles through the pain barrier to recover from a broken bone in his foot.
Bridge's pre-season training injury means he has yet to kick a ball in anger and with fellow international left-back Aleksandar Kolarov also crocked, versatile Joleon Lescott has been filling in.
But Wayne reports: "The injury seems a lot better the past few days. It's been frustrating but it's one of those where you have to wait in case the fracture gets worse.
"I should be back in training some time this week or next week. If I don't train by the end of the week they'll x-ray the foot again. But the pain is half what it was, so it's definitely healing.
"I've been working hard doing bike work, rowing, a bit of boxing, core work. I feel fit, so hopefully I can slot back in and not find training too hard when I get back. Fingers crossed for Blackburn."
Bridgey has suffered in silence until now but admits: "It has been painful. I've been able to walk around but not wear my normal shoes. I'm a size 8 and I'm wearing size 10s. I'm not putting any pressure on.
"I just want to get back on my feet. I've been coming in and sitting in an oxygen tank, sitting on a rower, sitting on a bike. It's getting a bit annoying - I feel like I've been kicked up the backside sometimes!
I'm just really looking forward to getting back out there and running around again. It's been too long
Kolarov's arrival from Lazio has raised the bar at the back but Wayne says: "I'm not too worried about extra competition. I'll be working hard, keep my head down and do as well as I can when I get back.
"We've got an even stronger squad now. It's a great squad, and everybody's going to get the chance to play. You need a squad this size if you're going to compete for everything you go for.
"We're all fighting for a place and when everyone's fit it's going to be great competition. Joleon's playing left-back because of injuries, so that shows what can happen. You have to take your chance when it comes."