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Pep Guardiola teases Erling Haaland return date in bumper four-player Manchester City fitness update



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has provided an update on the fitness of Erling Haaland, John Stones and Manuel Akanji ahead of Friday’s FA Cup fourth round tie.

The treble-winners travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to continue their Emirates FA Cup trophy defence, facing a Spurs side that have never lost to Manchester City since moving to their new stadium in 2019.

Guardiola’s side have failed to win and score on their previous five visits to Spurs, suffering a 7-0 aggregate defeat at the north London venue.

Manchester City’s fourth round tie is their first match since a win over Newcastle United in the Premier League earlier this month, with the Blues having been in Abu Dhabi for a warm-weather training camp during the recent winter break.

Kevin De Bruyne emphatically made his Premier League return during the 3-2 win at St James’ Park, meanwhile Erling Haaland and John Stones have returned to training ahead of Friday’s FA Cup clash.

De Bruyne could be set to make his first start since a five-month absence due to a hamstring injury, with the 32-year-old having marked his official return in the third round, featuring against Huddersfield Town.

Haaland, who has missed Manchester City’s last nine matches due to a foot injury, trained during the Sky Blues’ recent trip to the Middle East, however the Spurs clash will come too soon for the Norway international.

The 23-year-old is widely claimed to be targeting a return against Burnley in midweek, something Guardiola confirmed during his pre-match press conference.

“He is still not ready, but he is close,” said Guardiola.

“Training camp was good [in Abu Dhabi] and he trained here the last few days. He’s not perfect.”

The Catalan coach also provided an update on centre-back pair John Stones and Manuel Akanji, with the latter absent from training during City’s recent camp.

Stones, who was injured against Everton at Goodison Park, has taken a major step towards making a return, with the Englishman to be included in the matchday squad for Friday’s trip to Tottenham.

Ederson is available after being substituted due to an injury against Newcastle, however Akanji will remain sidelined.