Robbie Fowler returns to the Manchester City side for tonight's home tie against Lokeren knowing he must perform if he is to resist the challenge to his place in the team from Paulo Wanchope.
Fowler, who has always been defended by manager Kevin Keegan, has scored just two goals in 19 games since his £6m move from Leeds last January. He was dropped for City's last two matches, benefiting Wanchope who scored the equaliser against Fulham on Saturday. The Costa Rican is being rested tonight for Sunday's game against Tottenham.
Keegan admitted there are no longer any excuses for Fowler. "The time has come for Robbie to show what he can do," he said. "I have defended him in the past because there was a reason. When he came here, he hadn't played for a long time and he had just returned from a major injury. We know what he can do and that he can be world class. He has an opportunity to show that against Lokeren."
Keegan has made the changes to help balance domestic demands with City's first European campaign in 25 years.
German defender Michael Tarnat is struggling to overcome the thigh problem which kept him out of the Fulham trip, so Stephen Jordan has been added to the squad. Claudio Reyna is in line for his first start since arriving from Sunderland.