John Stones will start when Newcastle United visit the Etihad on Wednesday evening.

The defender is yet to play since football’s resumption due to an ankle issue, with his last appearance coming in our FA Cup win at Sheffield Wednesday back in March.

He returned to the training field last week but needed time to get back to full match fitness.  

And the boss has confirmed the 26-year-old will be in the starting XI against Steve Bruce’s side, with City needing five points to be assured of a top-four place come the season’s end.

“We cannot forget he didn’t make a pre-season after two months,” Guardiola said. “After two or three sessions he got injured and didn’t train until last week.

“I saw Eric [Garcia] and Aymeric [Laporte] did well together against Arsenal and wanted to give them more minutes to play together.

“But I will give you some more news: tomorrow he is going to play.”

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Stones has had a difficult season, with injury problems restricting him to 20 appearances in all competitions.

It’s been a testing time for the England defender - but Guardiola says he is now hoping Stones can stay injury-free and get a consistent run in the side.

“What he wants is to come back and play and be able to train for two or three months and not get injured,” Pep said. “John struggled with injuries and he needed rhythm and routine and a bit more time.

“That’s why in these last games, I saw Eric and Aymeric in good conditions.

“When they were together, they were able to play well - again Eric did not make mistakes [vs Southampton]. That is what we want

“Of course, it’s frustrating. It’s like what happened with Mendy. We want the players fit, especially for them as they get sad and worried. It’s normal. We want the best.

“But now 10 days, two weeks he is training - his behaviour is always good, his mood and I am happy he can start tomorrow.”

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