Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has hailed the determination of skipper Richard Dunne as he battles to be fit for Sunday's game against Tottenham.
The 28-year-old has been a pillar in the City defence over the last four years, winning the club's player of the year award for the last three seasons and forming a commanding centre-half partnership with Micah Richards this term.
The Republic of Ireland international was injured in a challenge with Reading's Stephen Hunt last Saturday and initially tried to continue before going off to receive nine stitches to a gashed shin.
The City defence capitulated in the second half to lose 2-0, and with Richards recovering from knee surgery and Michael Ball (knee) doubtful, Eriksson knows Dunne will be sorely missed if he fails to recover in time to face Spurs.
But Dunne has missed only one league game through suspension this season and Eriksson insists he will do his utmost to be fit.
"Richard is a tough guy, and if there is any chance he can play against Spurs then he will do," Eriksson told the club's official website.
"Not only have we not scored recently, we have conceded some easy goals and we need him, and the others, to be fully fit.
"We were not conceding soft goals in the first half of the season, which is why we had so many good results."
City have failed to score in their last three games and claimed just one point, leaving them with just two wins from 12 league games and 11 points adrift of European qualification.
Winger Martin Petrov sits out the final game of his three-match suspension against Spurs while defender Nedum Onuoha could come into contention after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
"It is up to us to make it right and start to win, because otherwise there is no meaning in talking about Europe," added Eriksson.
"As long as it is still a mathematical possibility, we have to believe it and fight for it."