Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson admits his career will probably be best served by joining another club on loan for the rest of the season.
Johnson has made just two substitute appearances for City since September 2008 and has been sidelined since December 2009 with a cruciate ligament injury.
He stepped up his quest to return to fitness by playing 45 minutes for City's reserves in the 4-0 victory against Rochdale in the EDS Senior Cup on Tuesday.
However, there is now plenty of competition for places in midfield at Eastlands and Johnson accepts it will be tough to break into Roberto Mancini's side.
The 22-year-old has been linked with loan moves to Championship duo Leeds and Leicester City, and it is an option he is ready to explore.
"We have a lot of world-class players. That is why we are second in the league, " he told the club's official website.
"It is better for me to go and get games now. Ideally maybe going out somewhere for the rest of the season and getting match fit might be a better option (than staying)."
On playing for the reserves, he added: "It was good to be out there. It has been too long as it has been over a year since my last game.
"I felt good, although a bit rusty at times. Fitness-wise, I am there or thereabouts."