Emile Heskey, the Birmingham City striker, has spelt out his determination to be fit for tomorrow's bottom-three Barclays Premiership clash with Everton at St Andrew's.
Heskey had to be withdrawn because of a groin problem at half-time during the Carling Cup triumph over Norwich City on Wednesday.
Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, rates Heskey as "a major doubt" for the visit of David Moyes's side but Heskey has a reputation for being a quick healer and he is desperate to be available for a game against Everton that City must win to bolster their hopes of survival.
"My groin started to get a bit tight against Norwich and then just got worse and worse," Heskey said. "But it was just a precaution that brought me off and we will see how it settles down.
"I am hopeful for Saturday and I always want to play. Saturday is a massive game for us. We've been going through a difficult time and there is no hiding away from that fact. But we want to pull away from the bottom part of the table and with two wins things can quickly turn around.
"We know how important Saturday is, with Everton being below us, but we hope we can take a leaf from the Norwich victory."
Doubt still surrounds Birmingham's chances of signing Paul Scharner from Brann Bergen during the transfer window. Blues are said to have offered of £2.1 million for the Austria international defender but Brann are unhappy it is heavily weighted towards instalments rather than money up front.
Scharner has already indicated he wants to come to Birmingham and Bruce is keen to sign the 25-year-old.
Alex Bruce, the son of the Birmingham manager, has cut short his loan spell with Tranmere Rovers and returned to Blues.
The former Blackburn trainee moved to Prenton Park at the start of the season and he was expected to remain with the Merseyside club on a long-term loan until January 22, 2006.
However, both clubs and the player himself have agreed to end the loan and Birmingham have received special dispensation from the authorities for Bruce to return to St Andrew's.
Bruce, a defender, made 12 appearances for Brian Little's side but he has not featured in the 16 for the past two matches.
The 21-year-old, who can operate at right back or centre back, spent time on loan with Oldham Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday last season but has yet to feature in the Birmingham first team since switching from Ewood Park to the Midlands in January 2005.