Micah Richards can't wait to welcome captain Vincent Kompany back into the Manchester City side ahead of tomorrow night's clash with Everton.
The Citizens visit Goodison Park looking to extend their three-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, and will do so with the Belgian international in their ranks after the skipper completed his four-match ban.
Kompany saw red in the 3-2 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United at the start of January, and has subsequently been out of the club's League Cup clashes against Liverpool, as well as league wins versus Wigan and Tottenham Hotspur.
His return will give Roberto Mancini's side a further lift in the race for the title, according to Richards, with Kompany's partnership alongside Joleon Lescott seen as a potentially key factor for the remainder of the season by the right-back.
"He has been an unbelievable miss. He is our captain and he and Joleon (Lescott) have been our best central defensive partnership this season. He has played well in the big games and is a leader so it will be amazing to have him back and we can't wait to play with him again," the England full-back is quoted as saying.
"He has still been coming in the changing room before games and saying how he feels we can improve, and what he would do if he was on the pitch, so he has still been an influence.
"But it's not nice for anyone. All the players and staff wanted him to play and he was kicking himself because it was another harsh decision to give him the ban. I am sure when he comes back he will give 110% and help us back to winning ways."
Versatile Richards was happy to fill in at centre back for his manager in he absence of Kompany, playing in a back three during the 2-2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield which knocked City out of the Carling Cup at the semi-final stage.
And, whilst the 23-year-old England international is enjoying life as a full-back, he's happy to adapt when his Italian manager requires.
"I have played right-back for the last couple of seasons and am enjoying it but if the manager needs me to play centre-back if there's an injury or something I will have to do so," he concluded.
"Vinny is coming back now and he and Joleon have it pretty much sorted out back there, and there will be more competition when Kolo (Toure) comes back."