Manchester City are hoping that Kevin De Bruyne could return to their matchday squad for the contest with Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon.
The Belgium international has made a full return to first-team training over the course of the past fortnight, but remains short of full match fitness before making his second appearance of the campaign for Manchester City.
There was an expectation that the 32-year-old could feature in the matchday squad that travelled to Everton in midweek, however the midfielder was suffering from fatigue as he continues to build up his match readiness through training.
With Manchester City’s final contest of a historic 2023 calendar year now on the horizon, their Catalan manager has offered an insight as to whether we could see De Bruyne feature in some capacity against Sheffield United on Saturday.
Speaking to the media after the 1-3 victory over Everton on Wednesday night, Pep Guardiola revealed just how close Kevin De Bruyne is to a return to action for the Champions, whilst admitted how much he would “love” for his playmaker to make a return this weekend.
“Kevin (De Bruyne) is close but he had fatigue yesterday and we have to be careful,” Pep Guardiola explained. “When he was injured for three months, if you don’t handle the timings good you can get injured again.
“The injury was serious so step by step but he’s training with us and he is so positive so soon he will be back. I’d love for him to play the next game or Huddersfield but what is important is keeping him fit for a long time, not for one game or another.”
Manchester City are also sweating on the fitness of John Stones following an ankle injury sustained in the first-half of the win against Everton, leaving the England international defender in a protective boot as he left Merseyside.
City medical staff are expected to conduct deeper assessments on the central defender over the course of the coming days, and the hope is that Stones will be ruled out for ‘weeks’ as opposed to ‘months’.
Erling Haaland and Jeremy Doku remain fitness doubts ahead of the weekend, but Pep Guardiola could offer an update on both forwards in the coming days as he conducts various media duties.
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