Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini feels captain Vincent Kompany's return for Tuesday's trip to Everton could prove crucial.
The Premier League leaders are attempting to improve a poor record at Goodison Park, where they have won on just one of their last 13 visits.
Skipper Kompany has missed City's last four matches after serving a suspension for his controversial sending off in the FA Cup third-round loss to Manchester United.
In the defender's absence, Mancini's side have secured narrow league wins over Wigan and Tottenham, while they were knocked out of the Carling Cup at the semi-final stage by Liverpool over two legs.
The Italian boss believes Kompany's return will give City a huge boost as they prepare to visit the Toffees.
He said: "It is important that we have Vincent available.
"He is our leader and a very strong defender, one of the best in Europe. And because he is so young, he can improve."
It has been a difficult month for the Blues, who have had two players sent off and are now without Mario Balotelli for three more games after his stamp on Scott Parker during City's last Premier League match, against Tottenham nine days ago.
Mancini added: "We have been very unlucky."