Manchester City defender Micah Richards is backing the Premier League leaders to 'keep strong' amid their latest difficulties.
City still have a three-point lead at the top of the table but have endured a damaging month with elimination from two cup competitions and the absences of key players being keenly felt.
Captain Vincent Kompany has missed the last four games following his controversial sending off in the FA Cup third-round loss to Manchester United - also a key factor in that result - while striker Mario Balotelli has just begun his own four-match ban.
City are also unable to call on Yaya and Kolo Toure due to the African Nations Cup, while the ongoing Carlos Tevez saga continues to attract headlines.
Their latest disappointment came on Wednesday night as they were edged out by Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, but 23-year-old Richards is looking at the positives.
The England international said: "Obviously Mario is suspended but we have got a boost now with Vinny coming back.
"We have other stuff going on as well but we will keep strong and we will look forward to our next game, which is Everton.
"We will go there and try to get a win."
City now have a free weekend due to their FA Cup elimination before returning to league action at Goodison Park on Tuesday.
Kompany should return and, after filling in as skipper, Richards will be happy to relinquish the armband back to the Belgian.
He said: "It is an honour being captain for Man City and I am gutted I couldn't lead us to a final, but I am happy Vinny is coming back and normal service will be resumed."