City’s pre-season preparations have been dealt a blow with the news that Benjani looks set to miss the start of the league campaign.
The Zimbabwean striker pulled a thigh muscle in training, and Mark Hughes’ striking options will also be affected by the absence of Jo, who has now joined up with the Brazilian squad for the Olympic soccer tournament.
Of Benjani’s injury, the Manager says: “Unfortunately he picked it up a couple of days ago, he pulled a thigh muscle quite badly and the medical staff reckon he won’t be available until into the new season.
“They have to wait for the muscle to heal and then for the strength to come back, and that will need a lot of work. It’s a big disappointment for me, but also for the lad himself because he was hoping to hit the ground running.”
The popular former Portsmouth hit-man scored on his City debut in the derby win at Old Trafford in February, and finished the season with two more in the closing weeks, but Hughes is philosophical about how his & Jo’s absence will affect his preparations.
“Benjani ended last season quite well, and it is a shame but these things happen. You will always pick up injuries in pre-season, you hope that they will be slight ones that players can get over, but unfortunately this is a little bit more than that.
“We were quite strong, bodies-wise, we had quite a number of forward-thinking players but it could be that as we progress over the next couple of weeks we will be shorter than we thought we were going to be. We will have to have a look at it, we talk about how the balance of the squad needs to be right so we will make sure we will have enough strength there. It’s a blow, and it was not something we were anticipating.”
Record signing Jo has now left the country to prepare for the Beijing Olympics, which will begin for Brazil with their opening group game against Belgium on August 7th.