Birmingham central defender Martin Taylor admits he faces a tough battle to regain his first-team spot after returning from a five-month injury lay-off.
Taylor, who has made more than 100 appearances for Blues since moving from Blackburn five years ago, suffered ankle ligament damage during a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest. He returned from his longest spell on the sidelines as a non-playing substitute, ironically against Forest, in Saturday's FA Cup tie at the City Ground.
Taylor said: "The team hasn't changed over the last seven or eight league games because we have been winning and the manager (Alex McLeish) will want to keep that team as much as he can. You don't want to change a winning formula."
He added: "But there may be injuries and suspensions and you may get a chance then.
"I just need to make sure I am ready and keep myself in the right frame of mind to go in when I am needed.
"Before this, I had never really done more than three weeks out. You get small injuries but I had never had anything like this which meant months out.
"It's been a new experience for me. I came back for pre-season and trained with all the lads and then to be out for nearly five months is really hard.
"Any footballer will tell you it's difficult to watch. We have been doing really well, which is fantastic, but you want to be part of it and in the team."