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By ESPN Staff

Eriksson worried by latest Johnson injury

Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has admitted he is worried about the return of Michael Johnson's abdominal problem.

The England Under-21 international had surgery on the injury in November, which ruled him out for a month.

Although the 19-year-old midfielder did return to duty at Tottenham earlier this month, he is now back on the sidelines after complaining of similar pains in a slightly different area.

Eriksson has already ruled Johnson out of tonight's encounter with Blackburn at Eastlands and while he does not believe the recent problem is an exact recurrence of the old injury, the Swede is suitably concerned.

'Michael has had a scan and the specialists say where he was operated on is not a problem because this injury is higher up,' explained Eriksson.

'But yes, we are a bit worried that it came back and we hope it will not be there for long.

'Probably he cannot play two games a week yet. Instead, he has to work more on core stability and things like that.'

Eriksson has not given up on Johnson being available for Sunday's encounter with Liverpool but he will be thankful fellow midfielder Stephen Ireland has now completed his three-match suspension.

Vedran Corluka and Javier Garrido are also primed to face a Blackburn side who have won their last five games against City but have secured just one victory in nine outings, culminating in Sunday's home defeat by Chelsea.

Not that Eriksson is reading too much into the form book.

He has seen enough of Blackburn, and star forward Roque Santa Cruz, to know they will represent a major threat to his side's impressive 100% home record.

Indeed, 11-goal Santa Cruz was one of the players Eriksson was eager to bring to City, only for Blackburn to snap the South American up for a bargain £3.5million from Bayern Munich.

'Santa Cruz was on my radar but I was just a bit too late,' said Eriksson.

'I saw him many times for Bayern Munich - and for Paraguay. It is no surprise to me how well he has done in the Premier League because he is a very good player.

'He did well against Chelsea and when you look at the game overall, Blackburn were very unlucky to lose, so we know how tough it is going to be for us.'