Mark Hughes admits the 'edge has been taken off' Manchester City's early season promise by a run of just one win in five league games.
Hughes wants to change that statistic in Sunday's game versus Birmingham and expects to have Kolo Toure, Martin Petrov and Wayne Bridge back from minor injuries.
All three missed the Carling Cup win against Scunthorpe in midweek and Hughes rested forwards Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor. Only Nedum Onuoha and Robinho are still nursing injuries but are close to a return.
Despite drawing their last three league games, the City boss is confident of taking advantage of the top four's inconsistencies, which has seen them lose nine games already in total this season, and put pressure back onto the favourites.
"That seems to be how the early part of the season is panning out," Hughes said.
"What we are looking for is a consistent run of results. But one defeat in nine, I would suggest, is consistent form.
"We have drawn the last three, and that has just taken the edge off our progress, but I think you have to view the first part of the season as a whole, and we are delighted with the start that we have made.
"We are in good shape, in a decent position and there is more to come from us. We know that."
Hughes wants to address his side's recent league form and defensive lapses, which has led to 11 goals against them, but insists City are looking strong.
"We are the only side that's only been beaten once in the Premier League. That is something to look back on.
"People are looking at the goals we've conceded in recent games and questioning our defensive capability.
"But if you look overall, there is only Chelsea who have conceded fewer that us in the top six. And Chelsea are the only team with more clean sheets than us.
"But we are not going to avoid addressing certain issues in terms of elements of our defending. That would be wrong.
"You can look at any goal you concede and see a problem with it. It's about making sure those problems do not become consistent problems," said Hughes.