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Manchester City defender absent from all training sessions during Abu Dhabi warm weather camp



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Pep Guardiola has been leading Manchester City’s training sessions in Abu Dhabi without the presence of one of his defensive mainstays, a new report has revealed.

The Premier League champions have been gearing up for a crucial second-half of an intense season by taking to training pitches at the home of their ownership, gracing the Abu Dhabi sunshine for the past week.

Pep Guardiola has been keen to emphasise the importance of bringing the entire squad together for a training camp in the middle-east over the past few weeks, with Manchester City focussing their attentions on sharpening their tools ahead of a hectic schedule.

However, while City have been finalising preparations for their return to action in the FA Cup fourth round this week, one name has remained absent from all action in Abu Dhabi as he continues his recovery from injury.

According to the information of The Times’ Paul Hirst, Manuel Akanji was the only player not to have taken part in any training during Manchester City’s trip to Abu Dhabi following a knee injury sustained in the FA Cup third round victory over Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

Fellow defensive option John Stones made a much-needed return to training ground activities this week, with the England international overcoming a blow to his ankle sustained in the Premier League victory over Everton late last month.

Elsewhere, Erling Haaland also returned to training this week following a lengthy lay-off with a bone stress injury sustained prior to the start of City’s hectic December schedule and setbacks during his recovery process.

City return to action on Friday night with an FA Cup fourth round trip to face Tottenham next on the agenda, before a Premier League meeting with Burnley will close out their relatively relaxed January fixture list.