Curtis Davies is gearing up for a 'big challenge' to reclaim his place in the Aston Villa defence after returning to training.
The centre-half has been out since September due to a shoulder injury, but is back in full training ahead of schedule.
He could be fit for first-team duty early next month, but faces a battle to get into the starting line-up ahead of Richard Dunne, Carlos Cuellar and James Collins.
Davies understands he is now down the pecking order in Martin O'Neill's squad, but is determined to recapture the form he displayed before undergoing shoulder surgery.
"It will be a big challenge to me to try and get back in," said Davies. "I will be coming back as the fourth choice centre-half, fifth technically with Ciaran Clark in the squad.
"Carlos Cuellar and Richard Dunne have done really well in recent weeks, and so was James Collins before he got injured.
"I am the guy on the outside looking in. I played most of the games last season, but I know I am not a big enough player to be able to walk straight back into the side."
He added: "I am in full training now. Hopefully I can get a few weeks in now. Running-wise I am fit, but it is getting the touch, positional stuff and sharpness back.
"Hopefully I will be able to get a game in soon although I know it is going to be really hard to get back into the first team.
"My aim is, if I get back in the team eventually, to show my form of before and make people remember me. Sometimes when you are out of the side, you become a forgotten man.
"The only time people read about you is in terms of injury stories like 'Davies suffers setback' or whatever.
"Hopefully I can show people I am a decent player, but I have got a big fight to get back in the side."