Pep Guardiola has once again dropped a telling hint that Joe Hart is not part of Manchester City’s future after giving both Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero his backing.
The City boss will make a late decision on which goalkeeper to play in Manchester City’s FA Cup fifth-round replay against Huddersfield on Wednesday.
City must take on the Championship promotion-chasers again after being held to a 0-0 draw when they first met at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Caballero now appears to have become Guardiola’s first-choice keeper having played five of the last six games, though Bravo could again get the nod after starting the first meeting against the Championship promotion hopefuls.
And Guardiola claims he chooses on a match-by-match basis.
The City manager said: “I have to think about it – not just with our goalkeepers – for the line-up.
“We were one week out so it is not about how tired they are, more a final against one team who impressed a lot when we played there.
“I have to think about it after the training session. I am not thinking about who is the first one, who is the second one. We are going to decide game by game.”
Guardiola, who is again without captain Vincent Kompany, insists there can be no room for complacency against the side who are currently third in the Championship. A quarter-final trip to Middlesbrough lies ahead for the winners.
He said: “They are there, (near the) top of the league in the Championship. Sometimes in the Championship the teams at the top are stronger, in some periods of the season, than the Premier League teams. It is one game, and I know how many surprises there are in the cup.”
The failure of Bravo to make an impression since his £15.4million move from Barcelona in August has raised the question over whether England number one Hart, currently on loan at Torino, could return next season.
But asked directly if that was a possibility at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “I’m so happy with Willy and Claudio.”
He added however that decisions on Hart’s future and the contract situation of Caballero, whose deal expires in the summer, would be taken “at the end of the season”.