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Pellegrini rules Milner out of Magpies clash

James Milner will miss City’s Barclays Premier League clash with Newcastle United.

The midfielder, who represented Saturday’s opponents between 2004 and 2008, has a knee injury and will not feature.

However, Manuel Pellegrini revealed that the problem is not thought to be serious and stopped short of ruling the England international out of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League last 16 tie against FC Barcelona.

“The only player who has a problem is James Milner – he has a problem in his knee and he will not be available,” the Chilean told assembled journalists at City Football Academy.

“It’s not very, very serious but he couldn’t work all week - all of the other players are fit.”

In better news, Wilfried Bony is fit and in contention for his City debut after arriving in Manchester on Monday.

Pellegrini gave no hints as to whether the Ivorian will be involved from the start or whether he’ll be named on the bench but he revealed that the new man has been settling in well.

Wilfried Bony

“Bony is an important player for us – he’s involved in the squad list for tomorrow,” he said.

“We’ll see if he starts or if he’s on the bench.

“He’s a player who has played in England, he knows he Premier League, he knows our team – I think it will be easy for him to settle in.

“He can play with Aguero, with Dzeko, with Jovetic, with Silva – all of the players in our squad.”

The champions are also boosted by the return of Yaya Toure.

City have won just one game without their no.42 and Pellegrini admits he’s relieved to have the four-time African Player of the Year back in the ranks.

“It’s important to have Yaya back, he’s an important player for us – for him and for Bony to come back after winning the Africa Cup of Nations is better.

“We are sure Yaya will be the same player as he was before he left.

...Manuel Pellegrini...

 

“I suppose they enjoyed their time there as they won the title – that’s the most important thing and that he returns without any problems.

“We didn’t win a lot of games without him but there were were other problems too.

“We had players coming back from injuries – when you put both together, maybe that explains it.”

City are without a Premier League home win since New Year’s Day but the manager is convinced that his side can arrest this alarming slide in Saturday’s late kick-off.

“We cannot drop more points but the important thing also is, if we win tomorrow, we will have the same amount of points at the same moment as last season,” he asserted.

“We can’t think about where Chelsea is – it’s important not to drop points and the only way to do it is to play well.

“I always say Newcastle are a very good team with very good players – it’s not easy to play against them.

“I hope tomorrow we will recover our normal performance at home – we will have to play well with lots of intensity.”

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