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Pep Guardiola earmarks potential return dates for sidelined Manchester City trio in significant boost



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed when trio Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and John Stones could return to first-team action.

The Catalan is currently preparing to face Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon without four key players, with De Bruyne, Haaland, Stones and Jeremy Doku all set to miss Manchester City’s final match of 2023.

The newly-crowned World Champions have the chance to move to within two points of league leaders Liverpool with a victory this weekend, and face a Sheffield United side that have won just two league games this season.

Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva were all on the scoresheet in midweek, with Foden and Alvarez also netting during the FIFA Club World Cup Final win over Fluminense in Saudi Arabia last week.

Both look set to start for Manchester City again this weekend, with Guardiola revealing that he will be without at least four players for Saturday’s fixture, where the Sky Blues are looking for a first home league win since early November.

De Bruyne, who hasn’t featured since the opening day of the season, continues to train with the Manchester City first-team but isn’t set to be involved on Saturday, with the clash against Sheffied United coming too soon for the 32-year-old.

Haaland and Doku are both are set to remain sidelined until next month, meanwhile Stones could potentially return for a trip to St James’ Park on Saturday 13th January, revealed Guardiola.

“No. Just Kevin (De Bruyne) was training with us, is training with us. But I don’t know, I still didn’t speak with the doctors either, so we will see. But the closest one [to returning] I had the feeling is maybe Kevin.

“But yeah, we have that game [against Sheffield United] and after we have seven days before Huddersfield, we have six days before Newcastle, and after we have 14 days until the next FA Cup just in case we beat Huddersfield, so in that period maybe we can recover players.”

“[John Stones] Hopefully, maybe, maybe Newcastle, or maybe after Abu Dhabi.

“It’s massive. To have Kevin [De Bruyne], and Erling [Haaland], and Jeremy [Doku], and John [Stones] available… Ruben [Dias] in the last game was sick, he could not be involved against [Everton].

“Of course it’s important. In February there will be a lot of games and we have to have everyone. Of course, we’re talking about important figures, important players for us. There’s no doubt about that.”