Monday 18 December 2017

Toure set to resume City career after six-month drugs ban

Mark Ogden

Kolo Toure is set to resume his Manchester City career tonight, three weeks after being cleared to return to action following a six-month suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.

With City manager Roberto Mancini preparing to make as many as eight changes to the team held to a 2-2 draw by Fulham on Sunday for the Carling Cup third-round tie with Birmingham City at Eastlands, Toure has been pencilled in to make his first appearance since February 27.

The former Arsenal defender, whose ban officially ended on September 2, admitted to taking an unspecified substance contained in diuretic water tablets obtained through his wife.

As part of the terms of the suspension imposed by the FA, Toure was unable to train with his team-mates until a month before the completion of his ban, forcing the 30-year-old Ivory Coast international to undertake a personalised training programme during the closed season.

Toure, who will be target-tested until May 2013 as a result of his suspension, has since described the "awful moment" when the reality of his failed test and the stigma attached hit home.

"One of my little girls came home from school and was nearly crying," Toure said. "She said some of her friends had told her that daddy was taking drugs. I told her, 'daddy's not like that,' but it really hurt.

"For me, things come from God. Good things happen, bad things happen, but they are all good things when they come from God.

"He does things because he wants you to be a better man. To be out those months was difficult but you realise how lucky you are to be a footballer. I was missing that so to come back is just great."

Patrick Vieira, Toure's former team-mate, has admitted that the suspension hit Toure hard.

But the Frenchman, a City ambassador, insists Toure has the mental strength to put the suspension behind him.

"The people who remain at the top have a strong mind, but they are also hard workers and Kolo is like this," Vieira said. "It has been a really difficult time for him, but hopefully that is behind him now. It will be good to have him back."

Toure is likely to return to action alongside Owen Hargreaves, who is in line to make his City debut against the Carling Cup holders following his arrival as a free agent last month.

And with City contesting four trophies this season, Mancini admits he will not pass up the chance to rest his first-team players.

"I think I will change many players because we need to recover and rest," he said, "but we need to think about the Carling Cup because we want to win the next game." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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