Having watched his team-mates play three times at Wembley in the past six months, Kolo Toure is targeting a Wembley appearance of his own.
The popular Ivorian defender’s six-month ban ended at the start of the month and he will end his absence from the starting XI when he plays against Birmingham City on Wednesday.
With Everton looming at the weekend and Bayern Munich less than a week away, Roberto Mancini will use the Carling Cup to give some of the players who have yet to feature in the senior XI a chance to impress against Blues.
“It’s been a long wait and a hard one, too, but it’s finally over and I can’t wait to play Birmingham,” said Kolo.“Playing football is what I like to do and it’s what I do best, so for me, it’s a case of ‘finally!’”
Toure revealed there will be a number of other players trying to impress the boss against Chris Hughton’s side, particularly with the players who have begun the Premier league campaign starting so well.
“Success breeds success and we will treat Birmingham as if it were a Premier League game,” he said.
We are a club who want and believe we can win everything, so make no mistake, we will be giving it everything when we go out on that pitch
“There are a number of us who haven’t played much or at all this season, so Mario, Owen Hargreaves, Stefan Savic – we are all hoping to play and show what we are capable of. There will be a real hunger and desire to win and I think that will be evident from the word go.
“Everyone is working extremely hard in training and we know the Carling Cup can be a passport back into the first team, so it’s a huge game for us in a number of ways.”
Kolo has been to a Carling Cup final with Arsenal, ending on the losing team against Chelsea, and he is doubly determined to help City get to another major final – and play!
“It was very hard watching the lads at Wembley and not being able to help,” he said. “It’s been a difficult period of my life, but the support I’ve had has been fantastic.
The reception I got from our fans when I warmed up against Wigan was very special to me and now I want to thank them for all their warmth and kindness
I wanted to write a message under my shirt to show them if I scored, but we are not allowed to do that anymore.
“But it would have simply said, ‘Thanks for everything – this one is for you!’ If I do score, it is for each and every one of our fans. It’s great to be back.”