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Roque's recovery nearly complete

Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz is on the cusp of adding to City's striking options, Mark Hughes has revealed.

The Paraguayan has been recovering from a knee operation he had prior to his summer transfer to City, but according to the Blues' boss he could be available for next Monday's home game against West Ham.

Reviewing the state of the squad following Sunday's derby defeat, Hughes said:

"There's nothing new, there a few bumps and bruises which you would expect from a derby but we're in good shape.

"Carlos got 90 minutes under his belt without a reaction, so we're pleased about that. In the next 10 days we should get Roque Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson back, fit & well.

"Roque won't be featuring against Fulham, but the likelihood is that he will play a part in the next game if we can get him involved.

"Michael Johnson is shaping up really well, and Vinnie Kompany is way ahead of his schedule so he is going to be an option for us very soon."

Facing Fulham on home soil on Wednesday night gives City a good chance of progressing in the Carling Cup, and the possible return of the three players so far sidelined beyond that is a further boost to the Manager, who has further underlined his attention for City to make a mark on this season's Carling Cup.

"We are getting players back at a good time," he added. "If we are going to be successful on all fronts then we have to have strength in depth, and the Carling Cup is a competition we feel we can do well in this year. Everybody would love to have the opportunity to get to a domestic final, and we are giving it our best shot.

"We're one less in terms of competitions we are competing in this season, but that's an advantage for us. If we can progress in the ones we are involved in this year that would be a sign of how we are doing. If we can do well in the Carling Cup that will help us in the second half of the season with our confidence for the FA Cup and the business end of the league season. Cup runs can help you in that respect."

Nedum Onuoha, yet to feature this so far this season, will sit out the next few weeks after picking up an injury in last week's reserves win over Wigan.

"Unfortunately Nedum is injured at the moment," the boss confirmed. "He's pulled a thigh during the reserves game last week, he played around 55 minutes but felt a bit of discomfort. There is a tear in there and he will be out for three or four weeks."

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