Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is hoping his injury woes for this season are finally behind him.
For the first time in four years, and only the second time since his £6million move from Hamburg to City in August 2008, the 27-year-old has been a frustrated figure on the sidelines of late.
Kompany initially spent a month out with a groin injury from the end of August, while most recently the Belgium international has had to contend with a thigh problem that kept him quiet for two months.
Kompany’s frustration came to an end on Wednesday as he returned to skipper City in a 3-2 victory over West Brom at The Hawthorns.
Although adamant he leads the life of a dedicated professional and attempts to do everything as correctly as possible to avoid injury, Kompany appreciates not everything can go according to plan.
"They (the physios) forced me to wait a bit longer before returning," said Kompany.
"I feel great right now, as in every game I’ve played, but there is only so much you can promise.
"You can promise you will do everything right on the pitch but you can’t promise your body will always be there.
"I’ve seen people get injured and they’ve done things wrong. But I don’t feel I’ve done a lot wrong.
"I don’t know whether the injuries are linked but I’ve had a bit of bad luck as well. Hopefully it will now leave me alone for a long time.
"I live for my job. Football is my life. If you’re not doing that, then you feel you are not doing what you’re supposed to.
"I live my life the way I should do and when I’m fit, like I am now, I feel incredibly strong. I just want a run of games. It’s all a matter of getting back into a rhythm."
Kompany reported no ill-effects from his workout against Albion and so should be fit to lead City out at Southampton on Saturday.
Given City’s poor away record this season, the win over the Baggies was crucial to raise confidence but now another win is required to keep pace with Arsenal at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
With the Gunners due at the Emirates Stadium on December 14, Kompany added: "Southampton away is a game we can expect to be very tricky.
"They have played well and are also a good footballing side who can mix power, pace and technique. We definitely got a good one from Southampton last season (losing 3-1).
"It’s a very difficult game but nothing is given to you in this league, so if we do get a result it will be a very powerful statement of intent."