Andrew Davies will throw his “pivotal” presence straight back into the heart of City’s plans at high-flying Brentford.
The key centre half is in training today after the injury which forced him off early on in the Stevenage defeat.
And providing there are no ill effects, Davies will be thrust into the back four for the Griffin Park clash with the third-placed Bees.
“We’ve had some really good defensive displays when he’s played,” said assistant boss Steve Parkin.
“He has been pivotal to the success we’ve had in the last two years at the club.
“He certainly adds a bit of size, strength and solidity to the back four when he does play and also he’s a threat at the other end of the pitch at set-plays.”
City claimed three clean sheets in his first five games back after knee surgery kept Davies sidelined for four months.
Before limping off last week, he had only been on the losing side twice in 16 previous outings this season.
Parkin admits his talismanic qualities will be needed as they try to regain lost ground against a side chasing automatic promotion.
“We need to claw a couple of points back that we gave away last weekend.
“It’s a game we should have won, whether we deserved to or not. So it’s important that all the players go down there positively.
“We’d fought hard and scrapped after a poor run to get two wins on the board. That was great and now it’s up to us to start again.”
Brentford lost their last home game to Wolves – their first defeat anywhere for four months. They were then held to a goalless draw by Carlisle to slip behind Wolves and Leyton Orient in the three-team race for the two automatic spots.
Parkin added: “All good things come to an end. It’s up to us to make sure that lasts a little bit longer.
“They have been an outstanding team for two or three months of the season and won so many games it was verging on the unbelievable.
“They’ve got some very good players but, as football does, it shows that they are only human.
“They’ve had a couple of bad results and we did beat them well at the start of the season.”
“It’s the business end now. The pitches get a bit bobblier, the football goes out the window because there’s so much at stake and the results are everything as we saw last season.”
Brentford claimed 51 points from a possible 57 during the 19-match unbeaten run which powered them towards the top.
But City dished out their heaviest defeat of the season with a 4-0 thrashing at Valley Parade in September after keeper David Button was sent off.
Parkin said: “Brentford have come a long way since then. But they will know we do have the armoury to beat them if we are bang at it.
“We’ve got to make sure the players are confident and will make it a tough game for them.”
Carl McHugh was back in training yesterday after a slight calf problem. But Matthew Bates is once again pressing to take his place in the troublesome left-back role.
Rory McArdle also came through unscathed from his latest international outing in Cyprus.