Aguero a doubt to face Stoke but Mancini has Real hopes


SERGIO AGUERO is a major doubt to start for Manchester City at Stoke City on Saturday as he continues his recovery from the knee injury suffered against Southampton in their opening Premier League game. Roberto Mancini is more hopeful he could face Real Madrid on Tuesday at the Bernabéu in City’s first Champions League group match.

While no definitive decision has been made, the Argentinian’s chances of being selected by Mancini for the trip to the Britannia Stadium are rated at less than 50 per cent. Aguero was pictured training at the club for the first time since the injury after he flew back to join up with Argentina for their World Cup qualifiers in which he did not feature.

City’s four new signings – Maicon, Matija Nastasic, Javi García and Scott Sinclair – are all available to Mancini for the first time for the Stoke encounter, but Micah Richards faces another fortnight out due to his ankle injury.

“It’s probably going to take about two more weeks,” the right-back told the club’s website. “I’m happy with the progress we’ve made so far because it was quite a bad one, but I can’t wait to just get back in among the squad.”

Maicon’s arrival means Richards has new competition for a starting berth. “Winning the league was an amazing time for everyone involved at the club I guess it wasn’t meant to be for me at the start of the season,” he added.

“I suppose it’s part and parcel of football – injuries come with it. It was hard, having been at the Olympics and then having to miss the first four or five games – it has not been easy. It’s especially hard when you know there are more players coming in and there’s more competition.

“The manager has been playing a 3-5-2 formation, so there’s more chance that I’m going to play if he goes with that. But if he plays a 4-4-2, it’s going to be me, Zaba and Maicon battling it out for the right-back position. I don’t mind, though, I’ve had competition all my life.”

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