Robinho's City return delayed by a fortnight
Manchester City will be without Robinho for another two weeks after he suffered a setback in his recovery from a stress fracture of the ankle.
Mark Hughes had hoped the 25-year-old would return to face Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.
But after missing two months of the campaign already, Robinho could be out until the visit of Burnley on November 7.
It may be that, with another international break the following weekend, Hughes will wait until the clash with Liverpool at Anfield on the 21st to ensure Robinho is 100% fit.
"He's had a little bit of a setback, and the likelihood is it will be another 10 to 14 days,'' confirmed Hughes. "The area where the stress fracture is hasn't healed as quickly as we anticipated. He could probably join in with the group, but the fear would be if he got a direct bang on that area there's a chance he may re-break the leg.
"So we don't pitch him into those circumstances, and it would be crazy to, so we're going to err on the side of safety. We've options, so can cope and give Robi the time he needs. It's important we don't put him at risk.''
Not for the first time this season Hughes was forced to fend off questions about Robinho's future. Barcelona this week confirmed they had no intention of bringing the former Real Madrid forward back to Spain once the transfer window re-opens in January, despite earlier speculation to the contrary.
That was hardly news to Hughes who added: "It doesn't really surprise me because I knew that was the case anyway. It's a non-story from our point of view. Nothing has changed in respect of Robi. He won't be leaving us, and that's the top and bottom of it.''
All Hughes is concerned about is seeing his £32.5million buy back on the pitch and integrated into a squad overflowing with talent, with the Welshman confident he will further flourish in such company.
"Our frustration at the moment with Robi's situation is that he is not fit and well and available for selection,'' added Hughes. "That will resolve itself in a couple of weeks, so he'll be back playing, and that's what he wants to do.
"He's a big part to play here. I've said on many occasions Robi has a real role here. Last year he had an exceptional season in terms of goals and the impact he made in a difficult season for everybody. We're in better shape now, we're a better team and obviously the team is playing with confidence.
"Once Robi is fit and well and is available to play, he will have as great an impact, if not a greater impact in terms of what he can do in a team playing with confidence.''
Skipper Kolo Toure returned to training after missing the 1-1 draw at Wigan on Sunday with a heel injury, with the likelihood he will return in Sunday's home game with Fulham. "We're hopeful he won't get a reaction and that he'll be an option for us,'' remarked Hughes. Striker Craig Bellamy, who missed the Latics clash with a groin strain, is due to return to training on Friday.