Roberto Mancini’s options for tomorrow night’s game against Bolton have been boosted by the return to fitness of Joleon Lescott and Roque Santa Cruz.
And there is more good news with Belgian international Vincent Kompany’s thigh injury not as bad as first feared.
He trained yesterday and while still a doubt for the visit of Wanderers could well be back in contention for the FA Cup tie with Stoke on Saturday night.
England defender Lescott travelled to Hull at the weekend with the squad but was confined to a pre-match workout on the pitch before the match.
Ironically, he hasn’t featured since injuring his knee in the 3-3 draw with Bolton at the Reebok Stadium almost two months ago. Santa Cruz has missed the last five league and cup games thanks to a calf strain.
Wayne Bridge is expected to be fine for the visit of Owen Coyle’s side despite having stitches in a head wound picked up in the defeat at the KC Stadium and fellow defender Micah Richards hopes to have shaken off a calf problem that has kept him out of the last two games against Pompey and Hull.
After Arsenal, Villa and Spurs all dropped points over a weekend when Liverpool were the big winners in the race for a top four spot, Mancini accepts that tomorrow’s game is vital.
“We must play for ninety minutes and not begin slowly as we did at Hull,” he urged.
“Bolton will come and try to pressure us in the same way, they are fighting hard too like Hull.
“I thought in the second half at the KC Stadium we played well and we had three or four chances to make it 2-2 but we didn’t. We must be more clinical and focussed from the start.”