| Submit Comments| Comments (95)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapJoleon Lescott is up for the toughest fight of his life ? just getting into the buoyant City team. The versatile Blues defender is hoping he can retain his place in the team after a good performance as a substitute in last week?s win over Bolton. But, even with left-back Aleks Kolarov suspended and centre-back Kolo Toure likely to be missing with a calf injury, the £24million buy cannot be sure of being in the starting line-up for the trip to West Ham. Lescott has wrongly been labelled as one of the players manager Roberto Mancini has earmarked for the exit door in the January transfer window. The big defender said last month he may have to leave, possibly on loan, if he does not get enough games ? he was in the middle of a spell of five games where he saw no action at all. But after playing the entire game against Salzburg last week and then taking over from Toure for an hour against Bolton, he was a little happier and declared himself ready to stake his claim. ?It is the toughest challenge of my life to get in this side and stay in it,? said Lescott, who has reportedly been eyed up by Liverpool. ?I know it is going to be tough but I am fully committed to City. ?Anyone coming out of the team knows that the player coming in is just as good ? we know there is a healthy competition. ?Previously I have been at Wolves, who had a great team in the Championship, and Everton and I have been fortunate enough to play near enough every game for both. ?When I came here I thought I was going to play. I did that under Mark Hughes. Then Roberto came in and this season I haven?t featured as much as I would have liked. ?But I don?t have many complaints. With the way Vinny Kompany and Kolo Toure are playing I can?t really complain. ?I would like to think I have stepped up to the challenge. I think I am as good as Vinny and Kolo. You know that when your chance comes you have to take it.? Lescott?s name has constantly been lumped in with those who are expected to be shipped out in the winter transfer window, with Wayne Bridge, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emmanuel Adebayor believed to head up that list. Leave Shay Given and Roque Santa Cruz are also likely to be allowed to leave, if they wish. But Lescott, despite only making starts in five league games and three cup ties, is still a part of Mancini?s plans. He could step in at his preferred centre-back position at Upton Park, although Jerome Boateng may also figure after being rested against Bolton ? he also prefers to play centrally, even though he has largely turned out at right-back for City. Lescott could also step in to Kolarov?s left-back spot while the Serbia international serves his suspension, although he also faces competition from Boateng and Pablo Zabaleta for that position too. The Blues head to the East End with their eyes on the top three, with United, Arsenal and Chelsea all looking vulnerable at stages so far this season. But that vulnerability should be a warning to City, says Lescott, even as they face the Premier League?s bottom team. ?You can?t take any match for granted,? he said. ?In previous years we have failed at these hurdles, although we are a bit more resilient this season. ?We have kept a lot more clean sheets and are a lot harder to beat so I don?t think West Ham will be looking forward to us going there, just as we are not looking forward to going there.? The fact that the Hammers beat United ? albeit a weakened United ? 4-0 in the Carling Cup last week, did not come as a surprise to Lescott. ?They are a capable side on their day,? he said. ?But any team in the Premier League is capable of beating anyone. There are no easy games. ?West Ham beat United last week so they will have a bit more momentum going into our game.? City will also be without their captain, top scorer and chief inspiration Carlos Tevez ? he?s serving a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards and misses the clash with his first English club. ?Carlos is our captain for a number of reasons ? his aura, the way he is around us, his performances,? said Lescott. ?He will be a massive loss but we have bags of talent to come in and prove why they are in the squad.? City could even go level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table if they win, although they are unlikely to make serious inroads on the Gunners? goal difference, which is seven better. Chelsea travel to Tottenham on Sunday and top two United and Arsenal slug it out at Old Trafford on Monday, giving the Blues a golden chance to get back in the thick of the title action. But Lescott says the results of the other teams are not being followed too closely at this stage of the season. ?Our aims will change towards the end of the season but at this moment I don?t think anyone came in after the Bolton game and was worried about how anyone else had got on,? he said. ?We were just excited that we won and did our job. That is all we can do. ?The teams around us have some tough fixtures, and if we can capitalise on other teams dropping points then great. But the most important thing is to win our games.?