Mancini boosted by Toure's early return from ban
Published 15/08/2011 | 05:00
The English FA has waived the final three weeks of Kolo Toure's training ban to enable him to regain fitness ahead of the conclusion of his enforced six-month absence for taking an illegal substance.
An FA tribunal ruled in May that the Manchester City defender should be banned from playing and training with City until September 2, as punishment after taking his wife's dietary tablets.
City had expected that the two or three weeks it would take for the Ivorian to return to match fitness would deprive them of his services until late next month.
But Toure has started training with his team-mates already. The decision to allow him to return at least 20 days earlier than the FA's regulatory commission hearing had stipulated means he will possibly be available immediately after next month's international break and in contention for City's fourth Premier League match at home to Wigan.
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, who served an eight-month ban in 2003 for failing to attend a drugs test, expressed surprise at what he saw as the leniency of Toure's six-month ban, backdated to the start of Toure's provisional suspension on March 2.
After a seven-hour meeting on May 26, the commission was satisfied that the 30-year-old did not intend to enhance sporting performance.
This news offers some relief to manager Roberto Mancini, who has not bought the established centre-half he believed his side needed for the new campaign.
Stefan Savic, the £6m arrival from Partizan Belgrade, is considered a player for the future, while former target Phil Jones was signed by Manchester rivals United from Blackburn Rovers.
Mancini is expected to start £38m signing Sergio Aguero on the bench tonight as City begin their Premier League campaign at home to Swansea City, with Carlos Tevez unlikely to play even a substitute's role until next Sunday at Bolton.
City expect Arsenal's Samir Nasri to sign a £165,000-a-week, five-year contract possibly before tonight's game. (© Independent News Service)
Man City (probable: 4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; De Jong, Barry; Silva, Y Toure, Balotelli; Dzeko.
Swansea (probable; 4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Tate; Britton, Allen, Agustien; Dyer, Sinclair, Graham.
Man City v Swansea,
Live Sky Sports 1, 8.0