Cole Palmer nears return to training with Manchester City
On a torrid day for Manchester City injury news with Pep Guardiola confirming injuries for both Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake, the Catalan did, however, provide a positive update on the fitness of Cole Palmer – who has not featured for the Premier League champions since the first week of January.
In his pre Manchester derby press conference, Guardiola stated that the 19-year-old was feeling better and that hopefully, he would restart training with the squad in the coming days.
Palmer, who started training with Guardiola's first team before the 2020/21 season, has been sidelined with a rumoured adductor injury since shining in the third round of the FA Cup away at Swindon – assisting Bernardo Silva's opener and rounding off proceedings with a sublime top corner finish.
The Wythenshawe wideman is rated very highly throughout the club, and it has been reported by Sam Lee of The Athletic that part of the reason why the club felt comfortable in letting Ferran Torres join Barcelona without signing a replacement was because of how happy they were with Palmer's progression – some at the club reportedly even believing that he could have a brighter future at the Etihad than the Spain international.
A seemingly imminent return to training for the academy graduate will provide a boost for Guardiola's attacking options – but the league leaders have suffered a significant blow in the central defensive positions after it emerged that Dias will face four to six weeks out with a hamstring issue, with Ake also facing a spell on the sidelines.
Should the Portugal international miss six weeks of action, the potentially title-deciding clash against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side on April 10th may come too soon for the 24-year-old.
On Dutch centre-back Ake, Guardiola described his injury as 'less' but made the point of only having two central defenders available in John Stones and Aymeric Laporte – stressing that 'it is what it is' and that the side was going to fight with the players available.
Guardiola may look to call upon senior options in Fernandinho and Rodri to fill the void as we saw at various points of the 2019/20 season or highly-regarded academy central defender Luke Mbete who regularly trains with the first team and has featured in matchday squads for the Blues.
Written by: @NA1907_
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