Aguero absent against Potters
Published 21/02/2014 | 18:47
Manchester City top scorer Sergio Aguero will miss this weekend's Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke but is poised to return to training next week.
The striker has missed four games with a hamstring injury but could be back in contention for the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland on March 2.
Midfielder James Milner is available again after his midweek European suspension and captain Vincent Kompany is not affected by a hamstring twinge. Defender Matija Nastasic (knee) is the only other notable absentee.
Not surprisingly given their Champions League result in midweek, talk of the quadruple has also subsided but boss Manuel Pellegrini insists the players will not be badly affected as they host Stoke in the Barclays Premier League this weekend.
Pellegrini said: "They are absolutely clear in their minds that we are fighting for the Premier League.
"I don't think there will be a psychological link between one competition and the other."
One other issue affecting City this week is the scheduling of their FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan for Sunday, March 9, just three days before the game in Barcelona.
It has been reported as a hindrance to City but Pellegrini has another point of view.
He said: "Maybe it's better for us to play on Saturday, but also the international players will only arrive on Thursday after they play for their national team, and that's not good.
"So everything has both sides. We don't have any problems with Sunday."
Pellegrini also confirmed that top scorer Sergio Aguero is due to return to full training next week after four games out with a hamstring injury.
Mark Hughes hopes Stoke can follow in the footsteps of three of his former clubs and upset another of his old sides Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
City have won all but three of their 21 home matches this season, losing to title rivals Chelsea in the Premier League and Bayern Munich and Barcelona in the Champions League.
Hughes played for all three clubs, while perhaps more relevantly he is also taking confidence from Stoke's impressive performance in holding City to a draw at the Britannia Stadium in September as well as wins over Chelsea and Manchester United.
Two of Manchester City's three home losses have come this month, including to Barca on Tuesday, but Hughes does not expect the confidence of Manuel Pellegrini's side to be affected.
The Potters boss said: "They're able to go from one challenge to another and refocus very quickly.
"They've got a huge squad of great quality. The difficulty from my point of view is knowing who they're going to pick on the day.
"They've been absolutely outstanding at home and averaged a significant amount of goals as well, so it's a huge task.
"But we've had really positive results against the top teams this year, beating Chelsea and Manchester United, drawing with City, which very few teams have been able to accomplish, so we were pleased with that performance at the Britannia.
"We'll have to match that and maybe go somewhere a little bit more as well."