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Out in the cold

ROBERTO MANCINI is looking more and more like a lame-duck manager following the appointment of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona technical director Txiki Begiristain.

Under pressure because of poor Champions League results, Mancini (right) has been reduced to the role of first-team coach while CEO Ferran Soriano, another recruit from the Camp Nou, expands his influence.

Speculation suggests that the Mansour family are preparing the way for Guardiola to return to football after a year off at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Brian Marwood, at odds with Mancini over transfer policy last summer, will take over as manager of the club's new Academy.

And in another setback for Mancini, Micah Richards has been ruled out of action until Christmas after injuring his knee in Saturday's 1-0 home win against Swansea City.