Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is back in the squad for Wednesday's trip to West Brom after two months on the sidelines with a thigh injury.
The 2011/2012 champions have struggled defensively in his absence and manager Manuel Pellegrini is grateful to have the 27-year-old Belgium centre-back available again.
The Chilean said: "Kompany is in the squad list and will travel with the team. I think Vincent is a very important player. He is a very good defender and of course we need him.
"On the other side, in the last five (domestic) games just Sunderland have scored one goal (against us). In all the others we have had clean sheets.
"So the other defenders can do it as well, but Vincent is always an important player."
On the game itself, Pellegrini admitted he was desperate to improve City's away record this season, adding: "It is very important especially this week.
"We play two games away before we play against Arsenal here at home so I hope we will be the same team we are here in those two games this week."
The likes of veteran Argentina defender Martin Demichelis and powerful England star Micah Richards have drawn criticism in attempting to fill the void left by Kompany, who has missed 10 games.
With City's strikers in red-hot form - especially at home - they have remained in touch with the Premier League leaders Arsenal and currently sit in third place, six points off the summit.