Saturday 24 February 2018

Zabaleta set to miss a fortnight

Pablo Zabaleta's absence gives Manchester City problems at right-back
Pablo Zabaleta's absence gives Manchester City problems at right-back

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta could be sidelined for around a fortnight, manager Manuel Pellegrini has suggested.

The Argentina international limped off with a hamstring injury early in the Capital One Cup quarter-final win at Leicester on Tuesday.

Although the injury is not serious, Zabaleta's absence in the coming weeks could be problematic as fellow right-back Micah Richards is also out.

Pellegrini said: "It is not so big, maybe Pablo will be back next week but the doctor has trust he will come back soon. Maybe one week more."

Richards was ruled out for around a month after he suffered a hamstring injury in the Champions League win at Bayern Munich just over a week ago.

Dedryck Boyata, who took over from Zabaleta at right-back at the King Power Stadium, is one possibility for the position for this weekend's Barclays Premier League trip to Fulham.

Midfielder James Milner might present another alternative or Pellegrini could maybe switch one of his two left-backs, Gael Clichy or Aleksandar Kolarov, to the right on a temporary basis.

Pellegrini claims he has not yet made a decision.

He said: "We don't have a right-back so will see who will play there.

"We can play Clichy, we can play Kolarov, we can play Boyata, Milner, so we will see who is the best option."

City's injury list has grown in the past week with top scorer Sergio Aguero the biggest casualty.

The prolific forward, who has scored 19 goals this season, could be out for up to eight weeks.

Striker Stevan Jovetic, who might have hoped to replace Aguero, also remains out of contention this weekend.

The Montenegro forward, who has made just five appearances since his £22million summer move from Fiorentina, has overcome a calf injury only to be struck down by illness.

Jovetic had been expected to play at Leicester but pulled out shortly before kick-off and he is not yet back to full fitness.

Pellegrini said: "It is a reaction from what he had the other day."

Press Association

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