Sergio Aguero has been passed fit to make his Manchester City comeback in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Sunderland, but injured pair Stevan Jovetic and Matija Nastasic will miss out.
Aguero, 25, who is City’s 26-goal top scorer this term, has sat out their last five games after suffering a hamstring injury in the 5-1 win over Tottenham on Jan. 29.
However, the Argentina international will return after a month on the sidelines as manager Manuel Pellegrini considers whether the striker is fit enough to start at Wembley.
“It is something I must decide from seeing the way he recovers from the work this week, whether he is 100 percent fit after his injury to play the whole match,” Pellegrini said. “It is very important for the team to have Sergio again with us because he is a very important player.”
Nastasic, 20, who has been struggling with a knee injury, and Jovetic, 24, who suffered a hamstring problem in last week’s win over Stoke, have not recovered in time.
“Jovetic and Nastasic are both injured,” Pellegrini said. “They cannot be there on Sunday. All the rest of the squad are OK apart from [third-choice goalkeeper] Richard Wright, who has a problem with his knee.”
City are expected to win at Wembley but Pellegrini is guarding against complacency, pointing out that Sunderland have already beaten two tough sides during this season's competition.
“Maybe we are the favourites but we cannot forget Sunderland eliminated Chelsea and Manchester United, big teams so I am absolutely sure it will be a tough game,” he said.
Pellegrini could win his first trophy as City manager on Sunday, and the Chilean added: “I will be very happy if we achieve it because it reflects all your work from the year. We have played a very good Capital One Cup because we won all the games, we score 19 or 20 goals and conceded just one.”
Sunderland, meanwhile, will be without midfielder Liam Bridcutt at Wembley, with the former Brighton player cup-tied. Lee Cattermole is likely to come into the team and play the holding role in front of Gus Poyet's back four.
Striker Connor Wickham will not be involved, having joined Leeds on loan for the rest of the season on Wednesday, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood misses out through a shoulder injury.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report