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Dec 2, 2011

'Frustrated' Richards returns for City

Manchester City defender Micah Richards says the frustration of not playing every week is the price that must be paid for being part of squad capable of winning trophies.

In-form Richards was rested for Tuesday's Carling Cup victory against Arsenal, with Nedum Onuoha coming in at full-back, but the 23-year-old is set to return to the team for Saturday's Premier League clash with Norwich City.

With City challenging for honours in all competitions, manager Roberto Mancini has rotated his squad heavily and with Mario Balotelli and Gareth Barry both returning from suspension the Italian could make 11 changes to the side that beat Arsenal 1-0.

But while chopping and changing the starting line-up might be tough for players to accept, it's a necessary evil, according to Richards.

"It can be frustrating but if you want to be part of the squad you have just got to grin and bear it," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"This is a team that is going places and if you want to be part of it you have just got to get used to that."

Mancini's rotation policy will continue throughout a busy Christmas schedule of 14 games in 56 days in all competitions - and that period will go a long way to deciding City's fate this season, says the manager.

"The season is hard now," he said."We have two months, December and January, that I think will be crucial months because we play tough games and we play every three days. After January, we can start talking about whether we can win something or not."

Mancini's only doubt for this weekend's clash with Norwich is full-back Aleksandar Kolarov, who missed training on Thursday with the knock he picked up at Arsenal.

Sergio Aguero, who came of the bench to score the winner at Emirates Stadium, should join Balotelli in attack as fellow striker Edin Dzeko started Tuesday's cup tie.

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