Curtis Davies says he is ready to make his Aston Villa debut after returning to full training following a hamstring injury.
The defender sat out Villa's last game against Chelsea with the problem but will challenge Martin Laursen and Zat Knight for a place against Manchester City on Sunday.
But Davies, who joined Martin O'Neill's side on a season-long loan from West Brom, knows he faces tough competition to start.
"My fitness is good now. I was worked like a dog when I had my hamstring problem, but that's what I needed so that when I did join the rest of the lads I was ready to compete," Davies told the club's official website.
"I'm definitely ready if the manager needs me for Sunday. The first weekend I came I told him I'd be ready if he needed me, but the smart decision was to give me the break knowing that the international break was coming up.
"Now I'm fit and as long as I'm in training I feel that I can do a job for the gaffer. So if he wants to pick me, I'm ready to take someone's place."
He added: "I've always been a regular wherever I've been, but this is the time now when I need to earn it a bit more. Hopefully if and when I get my chance, I won't let anyone take my place."
O'Neill is in no rush to throw Davies into the fold and may stick with Laursen and Knight, who started the 2-0 win over Chelsea, at centre-back at Eastlands.
"We have to ease him into it. He's been out for some time and the last thing we want to do is over-stretch him. But he's on his way back," the Villa boss said.
"He's feeling pretty good and obviously he's desperate to get started. But I'm looking at things in the long-term, rather than one game coming up on Sunday."