David Silva is one of five Manchester City players who will sit out Saturday’s trip to Stoke, leaving manager Manuel Pellegrini sweating if the Spaniard will be fit for next week’s derby.
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But Pellegrini is optimistic captain Vincent Kompany could make a swifter-than-expected recovery from his groin injury and could be in contention to face Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Before then, City travel to the Britannia Stadium without four defenders as Gael Clichy, Micah Richards and new signing Martin Demichelis join Kompany on the sidelines.
Left-back Clichy has a minor knock, right-back Richards is yet to recover from the hamstring strain he suffered before the start of the season and centre-back Demichelis has a knee problem.
“Demichelis is a long injury,” said Pellegrini, estimating he will be out for “six weeks”.
There is better news of Kompany, who was hurt in the 4-0 league win over Newcastle in August.
Pellegrini added: “He needs two or three more days to be 100%. But I think it is a risk to play three matches in one week.”
Playmaker Silva was hurt on international duty with Spain and Pellegrini hopes he can return in time to face Manchester United on September 22.
He said: “We will see next week but we will try for the derby. If he is 100% then he can play in that game.”
Pellegrini faces a decision in attack whether to pick Alvaro Negredo, who has scored as a substitute in his last two games, or Edin Dzeko but the former Malaga manager is reluctant to divulge who he will select.
He said: “Alvaro Negredo is always a very important option. Edin Dzeko is exactly the same.”