Manchester City have been hit with a triple injury concern ahead of their weekend trip to face West Ham in the return of Premier League football.
Pep Guardiola and his players return to English top-flight action following the first international break of the new season, as a large portion of the first-team squad embarked on European Championship and World Cup qualifying matches, as well as friendlies.
Guardiola himself makes a return following a spell away from the club, having undergone emergency surgery on his back in Barcelona and recovering from the operation in his home city, leaving duties up to trusted assistant Juanma Lillo.
However, while the large majority of the Manchester City squad have returned to the City Football Academy for weekend preparations, the club have been hit with a triple injury concern ahead of the visit to West Ham United on Saturday afternoon.
As per Sky Sports News, Mateo Kovacic was absent from training on Thursday evening, with local media in Croatia suggesting that a muscle problem in his back was the reason behind the midfielder sitting out of both of his country’s two Euro 2024 qualifiers.
There is a belief in some quarters that Kovacic was due for assessment upon returning to Manchester this week, however could be ruled out for up to 10 days – meaning he would miss this weekend, and the Champions League group stage opener against Red Star Belgrade.
Elsewhere and City forward Jack Grealish also remained sidelined and absent from first-team training, after withdrawing from England international duty prior to their two fixtures with a thigh injury.
Speaking prior to the international break, stand-in head coach Juanma Lillo said of Grealish, “Difficult for Jack (Grealish) to make it for the (England) national team call-up. I am not a doctor and it will be difficult for me to explain.”
At present, it remains unknown as to when Grealish could make a return to Manchester City action, however Pep Guardiola could provide an update on the club’s number 10 when he faces the media for a press conference on Friday afternoon.
John Stones was the third and final absentee from Thursday evening’s training session at the City Football Academy, however the understanding as per Juanma Lillo’s most recent update is that the England defender is “more or less” recovered.
Manchester City will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent winning start to the new season by picking up another victory this weekend, however West Ham will pose a stern challenge as David Moyes’ side currently side fourth in the Premier League table.
City have so far registered two wins on the road against Burnley and Sheffield United, as well as two home victories coming against Newcastle United and most recently against Fulham prior to the international break.
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