Manuel Pellegrini says Vincent Kompany is ready to return to bolster Manchester City’s title challenge.
The influential City captain has been sorely missed throughout his prolonged periods on the sidelines with recurring calf injuries this season.
The 29-year-old has played just nine minutes in City’s last 20 games in all competitions – an abortive comeback against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
He has now been declared fit for Sunday’s crunch Premier League clash against title rivals Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium, a match City can ill afford to lose after slipping to fourth in the table.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “Vincent is coming back from a long injury. He is a very important player for our team.
“I think that you have seen Kompany playing so many years here that I don’t have to say what Kompany brings to the team, but he is one of the best defenders in the league and he is the captain of the team.
“I think that every player that will play the game must be 100 per cent and Vincent has been working the last three weeks without any problems. He played 45 minutes in a friendly with the under-21s so I think that he is ready now to play.”
Statistics underline Kompany’s importance to the team. In the nine Premier League games in which he has featured, they have won seven and drawn two. They have lost six of their 16 without him.
But while his return is a huge positive, it has been a mixed week for City in terms of injury news. Playmaker David Silva has shaken off the ankle problem that forced him off early in last week’s loss to leaders Leicester but midfielder Fabian Delph and right-back Bacary Sagna face spells out.
Pellegrini said: “Bacary has a problem in his knee, some liquid inside the knee, so he had an injection. He needs one week at least to return to work.
“Fabian Delph is worse because he has a problem with his Achilles tendon. He needs six or seven weeks to recover.”
They join a lengthy injury list which already includes Eliaquim Mangala, Kevin De Bruyne, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas and Wilfried Bony.
Pellegrini said: “It is difficult when you have so many players injured and in the same position. Unfortunately it is part of the season and we must try and manage with the players that we have.”
This weekend could be pivotal in the title race with the two other main challengers, Leicester and Arsenal, also meeting on Sunday.
Pellegrini said: “It is not a decisive game but it is a very important game. Of course after that you have to play another 36 points, but for our team it is very important to try to return as soon as we can to the top of the table and to try to discount points to at least two of the three teams that are in front of us at this moment.”