Joleon Lescott believes Carlos Tevez's return will be like a new signing for Manchester City in their bid to become Premier League champions.
Tevez has been building up his fitness over the past couple of weeks after coming back to England and drawing a line under his long-running row with the club.
It had looked like the Argentine would never play for City again when he angered Roberto Mancini by refusing to warm up during a UEFA Champions League game at Bayern Munich.
However, Mancini has accepted an apology from Tevez and has indicated that he could feature in Wednesday's clash with Chelsea.
Lescott admits the situation has been far from ideal but says everyone in the squad is fully behind Tevez as he prepares to make his first-team return.
The defender is also confident that his team-mate can recapture the sort of form that once made him such a talismanic figure at City and play a crucial part in the run-in.
"He's like a new signing. He's not been injured so he is not going to be struggling too much in terms of sharpness and fitness," Lescott told Sky Sports News.
"All the boys are excited and can't wait for him to get playing again.
"Over the last two years he has probably performed at the highest consistent level as anyone else, so none of us discourage what Carlos has done for the club and obviously what he continues to do.
"Obviously the situation was not great for the club and it looked bad for everyone, but it was dealt with and the bright side is now that we have got him back and got him in the team again."