Manchester City coach David Platt says the form of Serbian teenager Matija Nastasic is the reason Joleon Lescott has been out of the side recently.
Lescott, 30, has not started a game for City since their 3-1 defeat away by Ajax in October, with a back problem initially keeping him out.
The England international was available for the last three games but Nastasic, 19, has now made seven straight starts.
"That is testament to [Nastasic]. He has stepped in," said Platt.
Lescott even failed to make the bench for City's 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge with Kolo Toure preferred as defensive back-up, but Platt insisted the England international was available and will be for Wednesday's visit to Wigan.
"Joleon is fine. He will be available for selection like he was available for selection for a few games," said Platt.
The City first-team coach has praised Nastasic - who joined from Fiorentina for £13m plus Stefan Savic - for adapting to English football quickly since his summer move from Serie A side Fiorentina.
Platt picked out the 19-year-old's performance in a goalless draw with West Ham on 3 November as the highlight so far.
"The first couple of games he has had to get used to English football but he has done that very quickly," said Platt.