Micah Richards believes troubled striker Carlos Tevez can win back the Manchester City fans with a blistering end to the season.
The 28-year-old risked the anger of the supporters when he left the club without permission and went to Argentina following a row with City boss Roberto Mancini.
Tevez has now returned after apologising to Mancini following their very public fall-out and Richards fears the fans are split over him playing for the club again.
But, now that the two have cleared the air and the striker is back in training after spending more than three months in his homeland, the City defender insists Tevez can still win over any doubting fans.
"It is hard - it will be 50-50," said Richards. "If he can get his head down and we end up winning the Premier League and he plays a massive part in that, I am sure everyone will forgive him.
"If he doesn't, it could be the opposite. It is mixed feelings [for fans] really, but as a player I am happy to have him back because he is an outstanding player."
The return of Tevez will no doubt boost the chances of City holding on to their lead at the top of the table and securing their first title since 1968 as he has been their top scorer for the past two seasons.
But the hit-man will face stiff competition for a place up front as Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli have found the net 49 times between them this season.
"Tevez was outstanding last season. He was inspirational," added Richards. "He was our captain and a leader. He was unbelievable on the ball but also off it, he worked so hard.
"He is a nightmare to play against and to have that in the team would be really good for us.
"I am sure the other strikers will be thinking we have done well until this point. And I am sure they will sort it out but it is a massive boost.
"He is still a quality player. He is just lacking fitness. Games are all he needs now. He has just had a long holiday. He is a better golfer."