Good news on Aguero injury gives City boost ahead of Barca date
Sergio Aguero is expected to return to action for Manchester City before the end of January, with the Argentinian's calf injury not as serious as initially feared by manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Although Pellegrini admitted on Tuesday that Aguero (pictured below) could be sidelined for up to eight weeks as a result of the injury sustained during Saturday's league victory against Arsenal, it is understood the player will be fit before the end of next month.
The news has eased concerns over Aguero's availability for the first leg of the Champions League second-round tie against Barcelona at the Etihad on February 18.
City's medical staff have told Pellegrini that it could take a month for a clear picture of his recovery timescale to emerge.
However, the two-month prognosis is regarded as a worst-case scenario, with the club's 19-goal leading scorer likely to be fit to return within six weeks.
Aguero's Argentina team-mate Pablo Zabaleta is facing a month on the sidelines, however, after suffering a hamstring injury during the League Cup quarter-final victory at Leicester. With Zabaleta joining Micah Richards in the treatment room, City are now without a recognised right-back.
Dedryck Boyata or Jack Rodwell could fill the position against Fulham on Saturday, but England midfielder James Milner claimed he is prepared to take on the role if required.
"I hope that's not the case (that Zabaleta is out for a month), but if I'm asked to do it, I'll do that," Milner said. "Dedryck came in at Leicester and he's a great young player -- he's got everything, he can defend well, he's quick, he's good on the ball.
"It's down to the manager. If he gets the nod I've got every confidence in him... I've never started a game at right back for City, but I've filled in, so we'll see what happens."
Despite impressing in recent weeks, Milner has struggled to secure a regular starting position under Pellegrini, who dropped the player against Arsenal following his man-of-the-match performance against Bayern Munich last week.
The former Leeds midfielder insists he accepts the need to rotate the squad with City pursuing four trophies, however.
"We've got a great squad, all the way through," Milner said. "The last three games we've played, we have had three very different teams each time and got good results.
"It shows the quality we've got and depth and how well you have to play when you get that chance." (© Daily Telegraph, London)