David Ball is cursing his luck after his comeback was curtailed this week by a recurrence of his foot injury that will set him back six weeks.
The highly-rated Academy graduate, who hasn’t played since October after sustaining a metatarsal stress fracture, was back in training at Carrington after six weeks of rehab.
"I’d been running outside and did a turn and felt some discomfort,” said the 21-year-old striker. “I’d resumed training and obviously wanted to impress the new manager.
“The medical team x-rayed my foot as a precaution and discovered that the callous surrounding the original injury had fractured down to the bone, so I’ll be out for around six weeks again.
“I felt flat because I wanted to show the boss what I could do. There was also talk of one or two Championship clubs wanting to take me on loan, but obviously everything is on the back-burner now.”
Ball made the bench for the games with Manchester United and Fulham and was in sparkling form for the reserves with six goals in six games before his injury.
“That’s football,” he smiled. “I’m going to work as hard as I can in the gym and hope that the next few weeks pass as quickly as possible. It’s a pity because I felt stronger than ever, but there are far worse injuries you can have than a stress fracture.”
Ball has noted manager Roberto Mancini's open-minded approach to the City youngsters, with Vladimir Weiss and Dedryck Boyata making their full debuts in the FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.
David said: "It was great to see Vladimir and Dedryck play the other week and, in truth, it’s a relief for all the younger players in the squad. You do get a bit worried when there is a change of management because you feel you have to start from square one again.
“To see two more Academy lads playing so soon after the boss has come in gives everyone a real boost. Now I have to get back to full fitness, show him what I can do, and hopefully join that list."