Manchester City's Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko is set to play in Tuesday's FA Cup tie at Peterborough, manager Pep Guardiola has said.
Zinchenko was visibly moved by the displays of solidarity with his homeland, in the wake of Russia's invasion of the country, during City's Premier League game at Everton on Saturday.
The full back was an unused substitute at Goodison Park but is poised to return to action as City travel to the Championship strugglers in the fifth round.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said Zinchenko was “absolutely fine” and in the right frame of mind to play.
Guardiola said: “I think it will be good for him to play and show the reason why he is here. He is a magnificent player [and] needs to play football.”
Zinchenko attended an anti-war vigil in Manchester last week and on Monday added his voice to calls for Russia to be excluded from international sport.
The 25-year-old shared a statement on Instagram calling on governing bodies to ban Russia and its athletes from international competitions and impose restrictions on the country concerning media and sponsorship.
City head to the Weston Homes Stadium after moving six points clear at the top of the Premier League with a controversial 1-0 success at Everton.
Phil Foden's 82nd-minute effort proved decisive, but Everton felt they were denied a late penalty for handball against Rodri by referee Paul Tierney.
The incident was reviewed by VAR, but Tierney’s original decision stood, much to the consternation of the hosts and bemusement of numerous pundits.
Even Guardiola accepts City may have got lucky.
“The pass of Deli Alli looks offside but, Richarlison, if he is not offside it’s a penalty,” he said.
Guardiola, whose side were beaten in their previous outing by Tottenham, now wants to take advantage of the issue to rebuild momentum.
He said: “It’s one game. If we lose the next game the momentum is over.
“All the time Goodison Park was difficult for us. The celebrations were exceptional because we knew how difficult it was – a good example of what we will face in the last 11 games of the Premier League.
“Every game will be quite similar. We will have to suffer and struggle and we are able to face it.”
Guardiola also expressed sympathy for Marcelo Bielsa, a long-time role model for the City manager, who parted ways with Leeds United at the weekend.
“I’m so sorry for him,” said Guardiola. “His legacy is there, in the Leeds city and club, and I’m pretty sure with the players. His influence is massive.
“Unfortunately all managers are subject to results, and maybe they were not good, but the games played in three or four seasons at Leeds were spectacular to watch and I wish him all he best in future.”
Former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch is the heavy favourite to take over from Bielsa.