City defender Micah Richards has declared himself fit to face Blackpool on Sunday, according to the club’s official website.
Richards, 22, has spent three weeks on the sidelines with hamstring trouble, but said: “I’m training more or less 100 per cent now and it feels like I’ll be in contention again for Sunday. It was important I didn’t rush it because you can’t afford to take chances with hamstrings.”
“But it feels a lot better now and hopefully I can get straight back into the form that I started the season in.”
Indeed, Richards feels his recent enforced layoff may reap dividends later in the campaign. “It’s a long, hard season, and you have to be fully fit to be able to finish it properly,” he said.
Silva set for Barca exit.
Summer signing David Silva could be heading for the exit door in the winter transfer window. Catalan paper Sport claim Barcelona, still smarting from their failure to secure Cesc Fabregas’s signature last summer, are closely monitoring Silva’s situation at Eastlands with a view to making a move in January.
The Spain international moved to City from Valencia in the summer for £24m but has struggled to showcase his obvious talent in the faster, more physical Premier League. In contrast he has cut an impressive figure on international duty in the last week, scoring in the win over Lithuania and playing key part in the 3-2 win over Scotland.
Holloway backs de Jong.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has given his backing to Nigel de Jong ahead of City’s trip to the Seasiders on Sunday, reports local paper The Blackpool Gazette.
De Jong, 25, has come in for fierce criticism for the tackle that left Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a double leg break. But Holloway will have endeared himself to City fans with his claim that the challenge was fair and the outcome unfortunate.
“I thought he went for the ball and slightly missed it,” he said. “Unfortunately, Ben Arfa’s legs and feet are so fast and so fantastic that he actually tricked the bloke like a magician does.”
“He lured De Jong into the tackle but his non-kicking foot caught him. I think it was an accident and accidents can happen.”
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports De Jong is considering his international future after being dropped from the Netherlands squad for the latest round of Euro 2012 qualifiers by Coach Bert Van Marwijk.
De Jong reportedly believes Van Marwijk has made a scapegoat of the combative midfielder in an attempt to deflect criticism aimed at the side for their agricultural style at the World Cup, and has reportedly become so disillusioned that he may refuse to represent his country so long as Van Marwijk remains at the helm.